Safe People to Trust

Two of the most significant benefits of a safe relationship are:

  1. To enjoy the freedom of being accepted as who we are
  2. Having the ability to sustain ourselves emotionally.

But, where in the world are safe people, and am I one?

In their book Safe People, Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend define safe people as people who dwell with each other in grace and truth. They distill the characteristics of safe people as:

  1. With Us: Safe people connect with us in a way that is authentic and present. We experience and give the most relational safety when we are connected and valued. If a person is consistently distant or disconnected, safety is lost or questioned.
  2. For Us: A safe person communicates fundamental grace and is for us.  Healthy love and acceptance happens when a safe person accepts a person’s authentic self without condemnation and shame. This does require some discernment, but is key to either finding a safe person or being one.  
  3. To Us: Being “for us” doesn’t always mean that the safe person is always in agreement. Giving grace without confrontation is ultimately relationally destructive. We need people in our lives who are willing to lovingly speak the truth to us and confront us when necessary. 

Relationships are necessary, however, our wellbeing decreases when our relationships are problematic. Unfortunately, a series of hurtful relationships can alter our personal behavior and our relational radar.

Identifying safe relationships and growing in our ability to be a safe person is a practiced process that improves the quality of relational life.  A therapist may be a good starting point in the process of developing safe relationships. 

Written by: Sheri Schulze