How safe do you feel in your relationships?
Last year, ECFI 1.5 Generation Congregation’s vision was to build a community of trust and transparency. I wonder how much of it has come true in your relationships, or does it seem like an unachievable goal?
It Takes a Certain Kind of Relationship for Trust and Honesty to Exist
It takes a certain kind of relationship for trust and honesty to exist. Modern psychology examined hard and long to discover what characteristics make relationships work. Cloud and Townsend (1995) in their book Safe People proposed that one reason relationships work is because of a sense of emotional safety people feel in their relationships. According to Cloud and Townsend (1995), a safe person is able to connect with us, accepts us without using shame and guilt to coerce us to be a certain way - a safe person is honest and real.
"A Safe Person is Honest and Real"
Who doesn’t long for those qualities in their relationships? However, at times it seems that we still end up with people who don’t get us, don’t accept us, or aren’t real, and as a result, we don’t become close.
What Went Wrong?
What went wrong? Cloud and Townsend (1995) believed that our own unresolved psychological issues is one of the reasons that prevent us from accurately discerning someone’s character and reaching out to safe people. They said, “in order to have safe people, we must first become safe people ourselves.” Similarly, according to Parrott and Parrott (2005), “if you try to find intimacy with another person before achieving a sense of identity on your own (or becoming whole), all of your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself;” (added italicized), in other words, if we enter into relationships in a starved state, we are likely to pick junk food (unsafe people) that may actually hurt us in the long run.
How Do We Become Whole or Safe People?
Naturally the next question then is how do we become whole or safe people? One of the practical tips Parrott and Parrott (2005) offered was to face unresolved hurt from our past. With the help of God and a caring competent someone, this painful journey could be life changing. Cloud and Townsend (1995) emphasized changing our character through acknowledging how we contribute to our dissatisfying relationships and confront our resistance to change.
The changing of character and the process of healing are huge topics that a single post cannot possibly cover. However, becoming aware of the problems we can tackle is the beginning of change. Christians are aware of the most important problem a human person faces – life without God and the way the problem can be tackled – forgiveness of sin in Jesus Christ. As hard as it is to face our brokenness in order to be healed, it is a comfort to know that we do not always have to do it alone.
重情義的蝌蚪 is a Christian in the field of clinical psychology. He has a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Rosemead School of Psychology and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy from Hope International University. He is currently completing his Ph.D. at Rosemead School of Psychology. His areas of interests include marriage/romantic relationship, trauma, psychodynamic therapy, and missionary/member care.
Could, H. & Townsend, J. (1995). Safe people. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
Parrott, L. & Parrott, L. (2005). Relationships. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.