Do you think it’s your partner’s responsibility to make you feel safe, to allow you to be vulnerable in your relationship? Or is it your responsibility to create your own emotional safety and mental space within the relationship? One of the most common complaints we get from couples is that their relationship does not seem to be a safe space, where everyone involved can be vulnerable.
But if you can know your own thoughts and feelings and stand by them, you hold space within yourself regardless of your partner’s validation or criticism. Dr. Hawkins invites you to consider the possibility that you have the power to create your own emotional safety.
How to Create your Own Emotional Safety
In the complex landscape of relationships, one question frequently arises: Can our partners make us feel safe or unsafe? For years, this notion held a firm grip on our understanding of emotional security. However, it’s time to reconsider this belief. In this article, we’ll explore the idea that we can create our own emotional safety, regardless of our partner’s responses or actions.
The Illusion of External Safety
Dr. David Hawkins, the Director of the Marriage Recovery Center, challenges the conventional wisdom that our partners hold the key to our emotional safety. Many couples have uttered the words, “I can’t share vulnerably with you because it’s not safe.” It’s a common sentiment that often leads to emotional distance and misunderstanding.
Creating Our Own Safety
As we delve deeper into this concept, it becomes apparent that we possess the power to create our own emotional safety. This revelation may seem counterintuitive at first, especially when faced with a partner who might be critical or dismissive of our feelings and thoughts.
The Power of Vulnerability
Vulnerability is the cornerstone of emotional intimacy. It’s the act of sharing our innermost thoughts and feelings with another person, often leaving us feeling exposed and fragile. But what happens when our partner responds with criticism or indifference?
Preserving Your Inner Space
Here’s the key: Emotional safety isn’t contingent on your partner’s reactions. It begins within you. To create your own emotional safety, you must first hold space for your thoughts and feelings. This means acknowledging and accepting what you feel and think, regardless of external opinions.
Embracing Your Feelings
Imagine sharing with your partner that you feel sad or lonely, and their response is far from empathetic. They might say, “You shouldn’t feel sad.” In this scenario, you have a choice. You can hold your ground, firmly rooted in your emotions, and respond with, “I do feel sad; I do feel lonely.”
The Freedom of Self-Validation
This newfound perspective grants you the freedom to validate your own emotions and thoughts. Even if others disagree or criticize, you have the power to stand by what you feel and believe. This autonomy strengthens your emotional resilience and independence.
The Role of External Validation
It’s essential to clarify that seeking validation from your partner or loved ones isn’t wrong. In fact, having someone who validates your feelings is a beautiful aspect of a healthy relationship. However, the key is recognizing that your emotional safety doesn’t rely solely on external validation.
Is External Validation Nice?
Let’s not undermine the value of external validation. Having a partner who acknowledges your emotions and supports you is undoubtedly a positive experience. It’s like the icing on the cake—a delightful addition to the relationship.
Creating a Harmonious Balance
The heart of the matter lies in achieving a harmonious balance between external validation and internal emotional safety. When you can validate your own feelings and thoughts, you become less reliant on external sources for validation. This, in turn, fosters healthier relationships.
While you’re exploring the concept of creating your emotional safety, it’s essential to foster empathy in your relationships. Empathy involves understanding and validating your partner’s emotions, even if they differ from your own.
Building emotional safety within yourself and your relationship involves open communication. Share your thoughts and feelings honestly with your partner, creating an environment where both of you can express yourselves without fear of judgment.
The Resilience of Self-Assurance
The ability to create your emotional safety through self-assurance is a form of emotional resilience. You become less susceptible to external criticism or negativity, allowing you to weather relationship storms with greater ease.
The Power of Self-Care
Investing in self-care plays a crucial role in creating your emotional safety. Engage in activities that promote mental and emotional well-being, such as meditation, journaling, or seeking therapy when needed.
In the realm of relationships, it’s essential to recognize the profound impact of emotional safety. While it’s undeniably gratifying to have a partner who validates your feelings, the true power lies in your ability to create your emotional safety.
By holding space for your thoughts and emotions, embracing vulnerability, and validating yourself, you can navigate the complex world of relationships with resilience and authenticity. Remember, you have the capacity to create your emotional safety, and in doing so, you empower yourself to build healthier, more fulfilling connections with others.
Also read: Learn How to Forgive Yourself
About Dr. Hawkins:
The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.
Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.
He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.
In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more