Emotional safety means I live a lifestyle of honesty, personal responsibility, humility, openness, vulnerability, validation, and consistency. I create emotional safety for myself by: Being emotionally honest, humble, vulnerable, validating and open. Knowing myself: knowing my wants, needs, fears, expectations— and being COMPLETELY responsible for all of those items. Making boundaries for myself, to keep myself safe physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Most of us understand the importance of being responsible for our own physical safety. We create physical boundaries to keep ourselves physically safe. For example, we live in houses to keep ourselves safe from exposure, we put locks on our doors to keep thieves out, and some of us carry weapons or learn martial arts techniques to defend ourselves against violence. You are just as responsible to create emotional boundaries for YOURSELF—around your particular needs, wants, expectations, fears, strengths, and weaknesses—to create emotional safety for yourself.
You are responsible to learn to boundary your emotional world as thoroughly as your physical world. You are responsible to live in an emotional “house” (create emotional boundaries) to protect you from constant exposure to others’ distorted thoughts, distorted emotions and distorted behavior.
You are responsible to put emotional “locks on your doors” (emotional boundaries) to keep those who would steal / take from you emotionally / spiritually out of your family and the inner circles of your life. You are responsible to learn emotional “martial arts” (self-defense) skills (emotional boundaries) to protect yourself and your family from emotional abuse, violence or distortion.
Your emotional “housing,” “locks,” and “martial arts” are the emotional boundaries you create to protect and honor yourself. For example, a boundary that creates emotional safety within yourself is, “I am willing to tell people, ‘No.’ When I do make a commitment, I follow through.” Another boundary to create emotional safety within you is, “I validate myself and my family members.” Or “I trust God / my Higher Power.”
Emotional safety means both people in a relationship are 1) aware of their own emotions, 2) honest with themselves and each other about their emotions, and 3) do not behave in ways that are aggressive—emotionally or physically. Emotional safety means both people in a relationship are honest with one another, and do not do anything to intentionally harm, hurt, undercut, belittle, disparage, deride, ridicule, slander, manipulate, or aggress against the other. Safety means knowing that your emotions and vulnerability will be held with respect.
Creating emotional safety is a solo act. Your responsibility is to create safety for yourself, and others are the beneficiaries of the safety you have created. Safety is the foundation which trust is built on. Neglect, abuse, cynicism, acrimony, ridicule, lies, deceit, secrets, manipulation, drama, “victim,” lust, irresponsibility and dishonesty violate safety. Attention, validation, vulnerability, awareness, empathy, respect, honor, openness, responsibility and honesty foster safety. You are responsible to embody all of these characteristics to create safety within yourself.
When both people in a relationship create safety, you can say anything you want without fear of retaliation. You are free to make mistakes without being attacked. All emotions are allowed, honored, validated and respected. Differing perceptions, opinions, and perspectives are honored. Curious questions are asked. Your choices do not threaten the other person. There are no secrets or dishonesty between the two of you. Both of you own your mistakes, and repent and forgive swiftly—grudges are not held. Both people are willing to risk, be open and vulnerable, and share validation. You feel relaxed, secure—and safe. When these characteristics are present, you can “be yourself” in the relationship. These patterns of honesty, honor, awareness, responsibility, respect, humility, openness, vulnerability, validation, and consistency create trust.
The word “repentance” comes from a spiritual context. The origins of our modern English word “repent” can be traced back through French, Latin, Greek, and ultimately back to two words in ancient Hebrew: nacham and teshuvah.
Nacham is about feeling—it connotes regret, lamenting, grieving, experiencing loss, and therefore being motivated to take a different course of action. Nacham also refers to consoling and comforting (such as in response to emotions of regret).
Teshuvah is about action / doing—it literally means, “to turn back to God.” The root word (shuv) means “to turn.” Teshuvah expresses a radical change of mind toward sin and implies a conscious moral separation from sin and a decision to forsake it and agree with God.
Recovery is the process of repentance. Repentance is the acknowledgement that I have erred, violated my moral code, harmed myself and/or another, or behaved selfishly. Repentance is the capability to humble yourself to: 1) acknowledge that you have offended your own moral, ethical, or belief system (and/or that of someone else), and 2) be willing to correct your errors in efforts to offer healing to yourself and other(s). It is a visceral, emotional experience, as well as an ongoing, conscious lifestyle.
Repentance is a process that makes you aware or conscious of something you have behaved, said, felt or thought that was/is caustic, disconnecting or destructive towards yourself or others. Repentance allows you to heal yourself and exit the distortion the transgression or offense created, and come again into the Truth and Reality. Repentance is the ability to “make right” for yourself and others what you have advertently or inadvertently done that you consider wrong or inappropriate, and to acknowledge and “fix” the emotional, physical, financial and other damage that was done by the indiscretion.