Creating An Emotionally Safe Space

Posted on Posted in Talk About It

“Unexpressed emotions will never die. They are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.”

-Sigmund Freud

 

For some, just the thought of opening up emotionally is one of the scariest, most agonizing things in the world. The sting of past hurts, traumatic experiences, fears of vulnerability and previous rejections are usually the most common sources behind this, but emotional availability can prosper in an atmosphere of safety and trust.

We’re usually more willing to be open and emotionally available when we are in the presence of people that we can trust enough to let our emotional guard down and be our true selves. In normal human behavior, we usually feel safe around people who exhibit acceptance, care, compassion or empathy towards us and our feelings. When this occurs, our brain releases the feel good chemical oxytocin (often called the trust hormone), which sends a message to the brain that the person exhibiting such behavior is not a threat. So just how can one create this environment of safety and trust more often?

Before we can look to someone else for this, we must first create a space of safety and trust to express ourselves emotionally, for our own selves. For the most part, it really comes down to creating an energetic space within oneself of self-acceptance, self-nurturing, self-compassion and empathy for yourself. And when we naturally give these things to ourselves, we automatically align ourselves with receiving the same from others.

Accomplishing this feat is not always a walk in the park though. From birth, we naturally express our love for others openly and confidently, while knowing with all our heart that we deserve to be loved in return. But as we get older and experience a more harsher reality of not meeting other’s expectations of us in the form of criticism, judgement or maybe even disappointment, we begin to doubt ourselves and even suppress some parts of ourselves that we may not feel are lovable or acceptable, in exchange for acceptance from others. This typically leads to shaky ground because criticism and judgement from others comes from a fear of not understanding something or a subconscious need for control.

And thus the beginning of many false beliefs are born. The principal false belief that usually rears its head at this point is the belief of “not being good enough”.  And this eventually leads us to placing our emotions on lockdown with learned behaviors such as people pleasing, isolation, addiction, escapism, denial and narcissism, but these unhealthy coping mechanisms must eventually be unlearned.

The key to embracing emotional availability undoubtedly begins with freeing your own emotions. No matter how arduous the journey of freeing one’s emotions may be, there is always the promise of the deep connection to others that emotional availability offers. So, give yourself permission to feel your emotions and give them a safe place to be expressed because we can’t just cut them off like weeds. Emotions will linger around until they are felt, expressed or processed. Sure, you can ignore them, hide them or stuff them away somewhere deep down inside, but they will be waiting for you at a later date. Quite often, in the form of an unhealthy behavior or illness.

Our emotions are here for a reason, waiting to be acknowledged and explored…waiting to show us our true selves and our real feelings so that we can live a more authentic life. Emotional availability is a gift that can lead to lots of fun and joy in life. Unfortunately, one will never truly experience this type of bliss until you are willing to create a safe space for your emotions to be expressed. Many blessings to you.

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