I’ve written before about the power of emotional security in our relationships. I went so far as to call it the one thing necessary for relationships to not only make it but to also thrive.
So great, now we know what this one thing is but what is it? What exactly is emotional security? How do we get it? This question is vitally important as we seek to figure out how to have the relationship that we have always wanted hoped and dreamed that we could have.
Emotional security is knowing that it is safe to know and be known.
We spend so much of our life hiding. Most people are so afraid that they will be found out. That they will be found out to be dreamers, or artists, lovers, or…you can fill almost anything here. As humans we learn very early in life that our dreams are to be kept secret. We learn that people will laugh when we share from the deepest parts of our heart.
As I have previously written, we all have those that we find it hard to interact and communicate with. I believe we all have three core questions that we strive to answer every day. They come from deep inside us. They all lead to the biggest question of all, “Am I loved?” I believe that we all have three core questions that we must have answered in order to have the relationships that we want. Our three core questions are:
1. Am I being heard?
2. Am I being valued?
3. Am I safe to share with you emotionally?
Problems come because we all have people that have hurt us, because they have answered these core questions in the negative. They have not listened to us, they have proven that we were not safe with them, nor were we valued by them. Then new people come into our life and they want us to trust them. They want us to love them. They want us to believe that they love us. But why should we trust them? Why should we believe them when the people who have come before them have hurt us in ways that we have not even begun to fathom yet? Because of past hurts, we either pull away or more likely we learn to function by not allowing anyone to get too deep. As a society we are “deep” phobic. Think about most of your interactions at work, or in your faith community.
How does the average one go? Is it something where you say, “Hi, how are you?” to someone and when they actually respond by unloading their struggles of the last few hours, days, weeks, months, you are left kind of wondering what happened. All you did was say, “Hi.” Now, recall a time where you were on the other side of that. Recall a time where you were the one who felt like you needed to unload and you could not. Not being heard is one of the most frustrating things we will endure during our time here on earth.
Jane* knew exactly what I was talking about when she heard me talk about needed to feel heard. Tears flowed freely as she talked about her relationship with Robert. “He’s so busy all the time, I don’t want to sound like a whiner but I’m just tired of feeling...” she began to search for words. “I’m just tired of feeling blech” anymore. I do not feel like I used to feel when we were first married.” Jane was taking a big risk by just saying this to me. When she had slightly broached the subject with her mother, she encountered what she perceived to be a a patronizing tone and an admonition that expecting to still feel like a newly wed after ten years of marriage was completely unrealistic. Not finding all that much help in the “cowboy up and deal with it approach” offered by her mom, she approached a friend. Jane began hesitantly and faltered half way in. Convinced that her friend would judge her (perhaps subconsciously) she pondered each word and inflection. She honestly feared that her marriage was on the rocks on she wanted to know how to rescue it. Her friend referred her to me.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at the conversation I had with Jane.
*Please understand that Jane is not a real person. She is an amalgamation of many people I have talked with over the years.
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