Emotional safety is identified in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs as a core component of living a fulfilling, self-actualized life. We need to feel emotionally safe in order to open our hearts, share our love and express our gifts with the world. How is emotional safety created? Certainly other people and outside circumstances play a role in your ability to feel safe, however you can also learn how to create emotional safety within yourself. This way, you create internal self confidence and self trust.
What Emotional Safety Looks Like
A woman who feels emotionally safe within herself is not afraid to let people into her life in an intimate way. She views vulnerability as an opportunity to create connection with others. She is aware of her strengths and weaknesses as two beautiful sides of the same coin. An emotionally confident woman doesn’t take rejection personally and when she does feel such disappointments she is able to move through her stormy feelings without negative self judgment.
Emotional Safety is Relative
The degree to which you feel safe depends on how much uncertainty you can sit with. What feels safe for you may be different than what feels safe for another based on differences in upbringing and exposure to safe situations.
Emotional safety is not something that is readily taught by schools or caregivers but the presence or lack of it has most likely shaped your life. Experiences in which you feel open to expressing yourself, trying new things, and sharing emotions are considered emotionally safe. If this describes your home life growing up, then you might exhibit a natural confidence and ease with yourself and others.
Women who have a history of not feeling supported in relationships have a hard time trusting their emotions and their desires. They create a continuous cycle of not trusting themselves by seeking safety in others who can’t provide it.
How to Create Emotional Safety for Yourself
In order to create emotional safety in your life, it helps to recognize the times in your life when you have felt safe. You can ask yourself these questions to get to know how safety feels for you:
- When I feel safe how does my body physically respond?
- With whom do I feel most safe (relaxed, accepted, open)?
- What activities keep me grounded, balanced, or secure?
- When do I notice myself feeling unsafe?
As you ask yourself these questions you are developing an awareness of the connection between your body and your feelings. Over time you will notice the subtle and not so subtle clues that your body gives you. If your body feels tight or fidgety for instance, you could be experiencing anxiety.
Since the body is connected to your level of feeling safe it helps to use embodiment techniques to bring you into balance when you are feeling unsafe. There are a number of ways you can self-regulate your body’s emotional reactions:
- breath work
- gentle body rocking
- embracing yourself
- nature sounds
Once you’re in a relaxed and open state, you’ll be able to respond to potential “threats” (things that feel unsafe) more quickly and with more ease. Your intuition may suddenly appear to you. You may find that you have better problem solving and negotiating skills. You may experience less extreme emotional swings during times of stress.
Clean Up Your Energy Leaks
Another way to create safety within yourself is to be mindful of where, when, and how you share your energy. Women with energy leaks tend to over-give or over-share until they feel depleted and under appreciated. Consider where your energy leaks are by asking:
- Is this in my best interest?
- If I do this will I have enough energy left for me?
- What is my motivation for sharing with this person?
- Has this person shown signs of interest in me and trustworthiness?
- Would I benefit from having a boundary around this?
When you check in with yourself before giving your energy, you honor the sacredness of YOU. When you start using yes and no consciously and intentionally, you build trust with yourself and that feels so empowering.
Accept and Allow Your Emotions
It’s understandable if you feel the need to close your heart after heartbreak or personal trauma. If this is the case for you then negative energies may be hard to process and accept. What is unwanted is shut out, but unfortunately it doesn’t make the pain go away. Instead it turns into fear, shame, and self judgment.
These feelings inside you want to be felt and accepted, just as you want to be seen, heard, and accepted by others. When you turn away from them and only welcome the good vibes, you deny part of yourself. And when you deny yourself, you’ll see that others deny you as well.
Your heart has the capacity to hold all your emotions, even though you fear otherwise. When you practice allowing yourself to feel everything, the negative emotions that arise will begin to soften and absorb into the positive emotions, creating balance and safety within.
Three things that can support you as sit with your emotions:
- embodiment techniques (above)
- healing sounds and chakra balancing music
As you journey through healing emotional wounds it can be beneficial to have support. A coach or therapist who is trauma informed and understands how to gently and safely guide you through the process can help you create emotional safety within yourself.