Who wins? Feeling Unsafe Vs Feeling Cherished

by Reid on May 26, 2013

Loved and CherishedFeeling Cherished

We all want relationships that get richer and deeper and create less stress. Bonus points when they can nourish and fulfill us in new ways! Surprisingly, this is just some of the magic that happens as we start to figure out who and what we are in relationships, what our needs and desires are, and how best to interact with our partners. Less angst, more joy. Usually for both sides!

Nourishing relationships where everyone wins is an important concept to me.

I watched my parents, who loved each other very much, struggle because they didn’t inherit great communication and emotional I.Q. skills from my grandparents. I struck out on a personal quest to learn how to NOT do what I saw my parent’s do to marriage, and I love sharing what I’ve learned: Ways to powerfully improve your relationships and deepen intimacy!

If you and your partner(s) felt loved, honored and cherished, what would that add to your life? What would that add to your relationship? To all of your relationships – kids, siblings, etc?

There are some specific steps you can take to develop and create the feeling of being cherished in your relationship now. There are two key parts to creating the warmth and connection you’re looking for and how to generate those feelings for your loved ones. You first need to create safety, (which we’ll discuss in this article), and then you can get clear about what your wants, needs and desires are in relationships (Part II).

Creating Safety
Unless you have a sense of safety in your relationship, neither of you are going to feel amazing. It’s hard to really appreciate one another when your reptilian, fight or flight brain is on high alert. Knowing what makes you and your partner feel secure, and being able to tap into those states, will stack the deck in your favor for your relationships.

What makes you feel emotionally and physically safe? (I go into this in depth in my Relationship10x.com 6-week course – feel free to sign up for the free video series!)

I have a friend who feels very insecure in her relationships. What helps her feel more grounded and secure is hearing from her friends and loved ones that she is loved. We could examine her childhood and fears and probably come up with a list of reasons she needs to be told she is loved to feel safe. She may work through her fears and someday not have such a great need to be verbally reassured; however, for now, because she understands her needs in this area, she can request her partners and friends give her reassurances so she can relax and open up in her relationships. By speaking up, her loved ones know to drop a few more “I love you’s” here and there, resulting in her primitive brain stepping down from Defcon-4 and her heart opening up to more joy. More relaxed and more joyful, her happiness showers down upon her friends, who, in turn, feel happier, too. Everybody wins!

What makes you or people you know feel safer, more calm and relaxed?

  • Some people feel safe if they have a strong verbal commitment from their partner.
  • Others need freedom to feel safe.
  • For one person, having a permanent date night every Friday feels reassuring.
  • For another, it might be sleeping with your favorite t-shirt or pillow when you’re away on travel.
  • Getting tested for STI’s can create ease in the bedroom.
  • Changing your FaceBook status to “In a relationship with ________” may be important to someone else.

With a little bit of detective work and some self-awareness, you can work with and support your partner (and yourself!) in figuring out what each of your needs are. Rather than shutting down when you feel afraid, find the courage to ask yourself what would comfort you and make you feel safe. Encourage your loved ones to do the same. And, remember, you don’t have to do it alone!

Follow these steps to start creating safety and ease:

  1. Notice when you’re feeling afraid.
  2. Take a deep breath and say to yourself, “Wow. I’m feeling afraid.”
  3. Take a 2nd deep breath and share with your partner, “I feel afraid. Would you help me figure out what’s going on and what I might need right now?” – If they say yes:
  4. Using “I” Statements (which help us from going into “blame mode”)…
    • Share what emotion you think you’re feeling as you…
    • Describe what you’re physically feeling…
    • What triggered the feeling… And…
    • What your mind is saying to you (verbalize your actual thoughts).
    • Example: “I am feeling afraid. I am noticing that my stomach feels queasy and my shoulders got tight when you agree to meet your ex for coffee. My brain is saying, “you’ll leave me for your ex.”
  5. Share what you think might reassure you and discuss what your partner is a yes to. E.g., “I request you not meet your ex for coffee. Are you a yes to that?”
  6. Give your partner room to say yes or no. They might say, “I’m not a yes to that, but I’d be willing to call you part way through coffee and remind you that I love you.”
  7. There are often win-win solutions that we haven’t thought of, and when we share without blame and take ownership of our own experience, we can access/create surprising and loving options.

Sometimes, all we need to do it speak our fears responsibly to our loved ones. Just having them love us for who we are, insecurities and all, is sometimes enough for us to get our primitive brains to relax their death grip a bit.

As you and your partner explore your needs, together, it will help you feel closer and make you better communicators. And just because you identify a need, please realize that it doesn’t mean your partner is required to meet that need, or meet it in a specific way.

Most of us were taught to source all our needs through our partner. Cinderella’s Prince Charming, we are lead to believe, made her feel safe and loved and they lived happily ever after. In real life, sourcing all your needs through one person often creates pressure, blame and resentment. When our partner feels obligated to meet all our needs, they often don’t have space to meet their own needs and they’re actually less able to be there for us when we need them. If we think we MUST meet all our partner’s needs, we can feel resentful and disempowered. And if we think our partner SHOULD be meeting our needs, and isn’t, blame starts to become a big part of our relationship.

Blaming is often a clue that you’re leaking responsibility. Like a hot air ballon with a tear in it, people who won’t take responsibility for getting their needs met for themselves risk making that tear so big that your life will fall from the sky with a crash. When we can take responsibility for our lives, actions, and needs, not only do we often stop blaming others (which makes us more pleasant to be around!), we increase our odds of feeling more safe in our lives AND being more fulfilled. It’s not that you have to be completely self-sufficient. It’s that you recognize that you’re your best bet for keeping the ballon that is your life flying high!

If you take responsibility for figuring out what your needs are and for getting your needs met, you shift into a more empowered and healthy place. It becomes easier for you to clearly request support from your partners and your relationships, your communities, your friends, and your family. You have more choice and extend your support network which often creates a LOT more ease in the relationships you’re in. Your loved ones get to support you in getting those needs met out of choice, and that can help them feel safer, too! Plus, you end up role modeling that the people in your world take responsibility for themselves, too, which often lightens your burden!

Safe and Open

To create a relationship of deeply satisfying love, honor and cherishing, start learning what makes you and your partners feel safe, and brainstorm different ways you can create that with each other. You can make requests, your partner can opt in or out, and you can work together to find ways to get reassurance and support in ways that feel authentic and supportive to both of you.


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