Relationships are life. If you look at life, all life really is, is a collection of relationships. You have a relationship with your self, you have a relationship with things in the world and you have a relationship with other people. Obviously for us to feel safe in the world, we have to feel free from harm in our relationships. But most people are confused about exactly how to create a safe relationship.
The definition of an unsafe relationship is a relationship with someone who cannot take you as part of themselves and therefore cannot take your best interests as part of their interests. This is a state of disconnection. It is a state of disconnection and perceived separateness where they cannot see you, feel you, hear you and understand you to even know what your best interests really are. It is essentially a lack of attunement and a lack of love. Most people think that love is to feel intensely positive towards something or someone. This is not the case. That is the byproduct of love. To love something is to take it as a part of yourself. This usually leads to positive, expansive feelings towards that thing or that person. If you take something as a part of you, you do not perceive yourself to be separate from that thing and so you can perceive it fully.
Attunement is being or bringing into harmony. It is a feeling of being “at one” with something. The best way to imagine attunement is to imagine sitting in your car and reaching out for the radio dial. If you want to hear the music being played at a specific frequency, like 98.2 FM, you need to tune your radio dial to 98.2 FM. And then you will hear the music. Your own radio dial needs to be brought into harmony with or become one with the radio channel you want to receive in order to perceive that radio channel. You need to tune into them as if you are them so as to be able to feel or imagine the other person’s emotional experience and to understand what they are feeling. This is what allows you to know what to do in any given situation to end conflict or improve a situation or to assist someone.
Attunement is what gives rise naturally to compassion and empathy. To understand these concepts in depth, I suggest that you watch my videos titled: What Is Love, Attunement (The Key To a Good Relationship) and (Compassion And How to Cultivate Compassion). This state of taking something as part of yourself (so as to perceive the felt experience of that other thing or person) is the foundation of a safe relationship. One of the problems that we have today is that we try to love people from our own separate perspective about what the person needs and wants. We try to love them in a way they do not actually receive love. So we have to try to understand them instead. If you want a super short cut for creating a safe relationship, watch my video titled: Stop Trying To Love Them and Start Trying to Understand Them.
What makes a relationship safe is our capacity to own a person as a part of ourselves to the degree that we cannot put up with or make them put up with being in pain. If we perceive ourselves to be separate enough that our best interests can be separate from someone else’s best interests, a relationship becomes very, very dangerous because we can put someone in pain as a means of controlling them and of getting what we want. We can play zero sum games in our relationships. We can keep someone in pain and expect them to stay with us anyway. It is a recipe for abuse.
Most people have a negative association with the idea of owning someone. To possess something is to have that thing in that it belongs to you. This is actually the positive side of possession. It is an inclusion-based concept. To love something is to take it as part of yourself. This means it automatically belongs with and to you and so you have it. To truly own something is to see it as part of yourself. If you see something as part of yourself, it becomes impossible to hurt that thing without hurting yourself. So much damage has been done by us throwing out the concept of ownership in our relationships with one another. When we do not own other people as part of ourselves, we feel no responsibility to them. Ownership is a critical part of creating safety in a relationship. To understand this fully, watch my video titled: Own People (How to Take Ownership of Your Relationships With People.
Nothing makes us feel more unsafe than abandonment. Being left or losing our relationships is just as big a fear (if not a bigger fear) than being trapped in a painful relationship. This is also where taking someone as part of yourself is critical. To trust is to be able to rely on someone to capitalize on your best interests, essentially to take your best interests as part of your best interests. 100% of relationships end if trust is lost in the relationship. This is actual statistical fact. So, if we cannot take someone’s best interests as part of our own best interests, it is a guarantee we will become unsafe in terms of losing the relationship itself. To understand more about trust, watch my video titled: Trust (What is Trust and How to Build Trust in Relationships).
Relationships are inherently out of control. We cannot control another person. We cannot control what they think, say, do or choose. This is why relationships are so scary and so risky. Obviously because so many of us come from past pain and trauma in relationships, relationships in general don’t feel safe. But there is a difference between trying to overcome past trauma that makes you feel unsafe in relationships so as to feel safe in a current relationship that actually IS safe; and trying to feel safe in a relationship that is not safe in and of itself. Obviously we need to use our discernment and even invite others to help us to discern whether we are feeling unsafe because of the past when the relationship or person is actually safe and when we are feeling unsafe because the relationship or person isn’t actually safe.
Most of us will experience pain in even the best relationships. What makes a relationship safe isn’t the guarantee that we will never experience pain. The only pain we should ever align with in a relationship is pain that ultimately enhances our wellbeing or theirs (or both) instead of diminishes it. It must be known however that it takes a serious level of awareness to be able to discern for someone else what pain is actually good for someone because it can be such a good smokescreen for abuse in relationships or even for our own failings in relationships to cover over the pain we are causing someone by telling ourselves that it is good for them in some way. It is the response we have to pain that occurs in a relationship… The quickness with which we create repair… The genuine commitment to prevent harm and to not perpetuate harm to the person who we love and therefore take as part of ourselves, that makes a relationship safe. To understand this fully, watch my video titled: Take Them As Part Of You (The Golden Key To A Good Relationship).
The way to know if you are in a good relationship, one where the other person is taking you as part of themselves, is to be able to say “I am out of control with this person, and so I feel… SAFE”. When we are in a bad relationship, we cannot say this. Our truth will be “I’m out of control with this person, and so I feel… UNSAFE. And there is nothing worse than this feeling, especially if we feel that with a partner.