Why Is Emotional Safety Important?
There are many elements of life that we can take for granted. But if we were not to have them, the quality of our life would be greatly diminished. Things like having a home, living in peaceful times, and having people that we can depend on are all essential building blocks for a happy and satisfying life. Alas, not everyone has these things. In this blog, we’re going to talk about the importance of having other people with whom you have emotional safety. We’ll run through some of the key details, such as answering the question, ‘why is emotional safety important,’ and also offer advice on how you can improve this aspect of your relationship.
What is Emotional Safety?
Emotional safety is about feeling secure within yourself. This is important in all dimensions, including with how you relate to yourself, but more broadly, it refers to how you feel with other people. A relationship cannot thrive and satisfy if there is no emotional safety. It’s an essential component of connection in a relationship. It allows you to be yourself, without fear of being looked down upon by your partner — if you’re unable to share your dissatisfactions, hopes, dreams, and so forth, then it’s possible that you’re not in an emotionally secure relationship. Of course, most people want to express these sides of themselves. So why don’t they? While there can be many reasons, when it comes to a relationship, it’s typically because they fear retribution from their partner in one way or another, often in the shape of shouting or rejection.
That goes at odds with what a healthy relationship should be, which is a safe space for everyone involved to reveal themselves. This extends to all relationships — including romantic, friendships, and family dynamics.
Why is Emotional Safety Important?
Knowing that there’s someone with whom you can be yourself is beneficial in many ways. First, it allows you to unburden yourself of the stresses and strains of life — if you don’t have anyone to tell, then you’ll be carrying through the more negative aspects of life on your own. And that can be damaging. But it’s perhaps more damaging to have someone with whom you should be able to be yourself but with whom you can’t. If you’re in a relationship where there is no emotional safety, then you may feel uncomfortable and ill at ease. And while that might be OK to handle on a temporary basis, if it becomes a significant part of your life (for instance, in your marriage), then your quality of life and happiness may begin to suffer.
How Does Emotional Safety Develop?
Emotional safety can feel like a complicated topic. Yet, while it’s true that it can be difficult to measure and quantify, it’s often relatively straightforward to identify — or identify the lack of. It’s also pretty clear that there are some underlying principles that help emotional safety to develop. At the very core of the agreement is trust. If you can’t trust your partner, then it’ll be impossible to develop emotional safety; they would be at odds with each other. This trust has to travel both ways, and it’s non-negotiable — it’s not possible to express the level of vulnerability required if you don’t trust the other person!
One person might feel emotionally secure because of the work that is being done by their partner. But the partner may not. That’s why, in many cases, it takes a conscious effort on behalf of both people. And sometimes, that conscious effort means not doing something that we normally do. For example, you may not be aware that you can shame or dismiss your partner when they’re talking. To you, it’s no big issue, but to the other person, that might be extremely damaging.
There are some tried and tested ways that a person can help to develop emotional safety with their partner. Consider the below points as the foundation that’ll give emotional security the chance to develop.
Do what you say you’ll do
It’s one thing to tell someone you’ll do something for them. It’s another to actually do it. If you’re continually bailing on plans, then the other person will see you as unreliable. You should aim to be consistent.
Life is hard. We need the people closest to us to support us. If you take the view that ‘their battles are your battles,’ then you’ll be in the right frame of mind.
Learn to communicate
Being an active listener and asking appropriate questions can guide the other person towards revealing their true thoughts and feelings.
How it Can Impact Relationships
A relationship without emotional safety will begin to die unless the people involved in the relationship take action. All it takes is one action — say, a critical comment — for a chain reaction to begin. Unless the couple works on breaking that chain reaction, then they’ll likely always have difficulties. Relationships can be easy, but they’re always extremely complicated, and rarely do issues resolve themselves. And when problems continue, a life of anxiety and insecurity awaits both people.
The good news is that there’s always something you do to improve your level of emotional connection. After all, there’s typically something you can do to improve any element of your life. If you’re looking for Calgary counselling for emotional safety, then you’re in the right place. Here at the Calgary Institute of Counselling, we have a team of professionals who are trained to help individuals and couples to become the best version of themselves. Couple counselling is a great way to rebuild a connection that may have been lost due to external or internal factors or simply due to the passing of time. There aren’t too many aspects of life that can run on autopilot, and especially aspects as important as a relationship. If you’re ready to make an appointment to begin counseling for emotional safety, then give us a call at (587) 350-8843 or send an email to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you.