Cultivate Emotional Safety In Your Relationship With These Simple Ways
The foundation of a healthy, happy, and loving relationship is believed to be trust, respect, and care but there’s another aspect of a healthy relationship that we often overlook. And that is vulnerability or emotional safety.
Believe it or not, emotional safety is one of the most important elements of a meaningful relationship. Many of you might be thinking, “That’s boring,” but trust me, emotional safety can be far from boring. It’s what defines your closeness with your partner in the relationship, after all.
It’s about being emotionally intimate with your partner, enough to feel safe to open up and be vulnerable.
Emotional safety, as the term itself speaks, is the feeling of safety that makes you secure enough to express your true emotions and your authentic self without feeling rejected or invalidated. When you feel emotionally unsafe, it can make you shut off your emotions and hide your true self from your partner – it doesn’t matter if you’ve been together for years.
Feeling emotionally safe is important in a relationship and with the right ways, you can increase emotional safety in your relationship too. Read on to know what the ways to increase emotional safety in relationships are.
What Is Emotional Safety?
Emotional safety can be defined as a state where a couple can be vulnerable and emotionally open with each other in a relationship. We are innately wired to feel safe and our brains are constantly on alert about a threat or danger. If our brains determine something as dangerous, then they will activate the flight-or-fight mode to protect us.
This happens when it comes to psychological or emotional safety as well. When we don’t feel emotionally safe, we fail to connect with our partners and push them away until we feel safe. This can happen consciously or subconsciously.
However, if we find ourselves in an emotionally safe relationship, then we relax in the present moment without worrying about anything else. Some people feel safe in a relationship while others don’t and this depends on each individual’s circumstances.
When you feel emotionally safe in a relationship, you let your guard down around each other, you trust each other, and know that the other has your best interest at heart. You are not afraid to show your authentic self or share your mind. You don’t worry about being judged or rejected.
You also find yourself free to explore your creativity, share your thoughts, express kindness, and communicate your deepest feelings, wishes, and fears with each other.
Signs You’re Emotionally Unsafe In A Relationship
Lack of emotional safety in a relationship can mean a turbulent relationship with a crumbling foundation. When you don’t feel emotionally safe in a relationship, there’s a sense of discontentment, disconnection, and defensiveness.
The relationship also lacks trust and respect. You feel like you cannot open yourself and speak what’s on your mind. You are reluctant to be vulnerable and express your true feelings because you don’t know and are scared of how the other will react. There’s always underlying anxiety that you experience when you’re with them and feel that you’re on edge whenever your partner is around.
Why Is Emotional Safety Important?
When you’re in an emotionally safe relationship, then there are certain benefits you’re likely to experience. Some amazing benefits of being in an emotionally safe relationship can include:
- Feeling validated, valuable, and valued
- Being your true self without fearing judgment
- Being accepting of your weaknesses without worrying about being taken advantage of
- Feeling that you can share everything with your partner freely
- Feeling seen and understood by the partner
- Establishing a stronger bond with your partner
How To Create Emotional Safety In A Relationship?
Here’s how you begin to create emotional safety in a relationship:
1. Boundaries and Consent
Having healthy boundaries is the key to all successful and healthy relationships. Boundaries bring a sense of safety in a relationship. When you communicate your boundaries, you share with your partner what you accept and what you don’t. I think setting boundaries is the most important element of establishing emotional safety.
Boundaries not only protect your relationship but also you as an individual. There are many types of boundaries and you can choose from them which to set where. Some examples of boundaries and consent can include:
- Respecting what’s important to you
- Sharing personal details slowly
- Taking time for yourself and not overcommitting
- Asking for space when you need it
- Communicating what you need (or do not need) when it comes to intimacy
2. Non-verbal Communication
You won’t believe me but non-verbal communication also plays a key role in establishing emotional safety in a relationship. Your tone of voice, your posture, and the little microexpressions your body conveys can contribute a lot to your relationship. For example, if you approach your partner with pursed lips and clipped words, they may not feel comfortable or safe.
Here, you need to understand that not only words can have all the power but your actions and body language can too. Pay attention to your body language and expressions when you’re communicating with your partner.
3. Active Listening
What if you speak and your partner hears but doesn’t listen? Won’t you feel hurt and unsafe in the relationship? Active listening is another aspect of emotional safety that you should not overlook. This skill is when you are not distracted and really listen to what your partner is saying and vice versa.
This skill of active listening, when cultivated properly, can assure that when your partner is in a fix, they can come to you and share their problems, and you will listen to them. Instead of letting the problem fester, you and your partner will be able to address it effectively.
Here are some examples:
- When your partner is talking smile, nod, and maintain eye contact
- Ask them questions and ask for clarification
- Repeat what they said to avoid misinformation or miscommunication
Another important element of emotional safety in a relationship is transparency. When you practice transparency, you avoid any chances of hiding secrets from one another. This means that you and your partner are comfortable sharing problems. Now, you don’t have to share everything with them but general things such as thoughts and feelings are a good way to begin.
Another part of transparency is to give your partner the benefit of doubt. Try to be curious about their motivation for their actions instead of being judgmental. Allow room for mistakes and avoid holding those mistakes over your partner’s head.
5. Accountability and Empathy
Accountability means following through with your words and actions. This aspect shows your partner that you are dependable and value them and this relationship. If you’ve committed then follow through with it. Small steps can work, you don’t need to build loyalty overnight.
Another element that follows closely with accountability is empathy. Empathy is a great way to create emotional safety in a relationship. All you need to do is ask your partner, “You are disappointed today, I’m sorry about it. Do you want to tell me more?” Simple as that! No harm done, right?
6. Couples Counseling or Therapy
Another way to create emotional safety in a relationship is to seek couples counseling or therapy. A therapist’s understanding can help your relationship and you, individually. Couples counseling boosts emotional safety by helping you and your partner understand how you two contribute to the relationship, together.
It’s not a weakness to seek couples therapy as a counselor’s input is very valuable in highlighting emotional safety. This could come in handy when you face difficulty in establishing an emotionally safe space in the relationship.
All in all, emotional safety is the foundation of a healthy and loving relationship. And while there are many ways to create emotional safety in a relationship, many ways may depend on your relationship dynamic. You can try and experiment and see which way suits your relationship the best.
I hope this article will help you understand the value of emotional safety in a relationship and how to establish the same.
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