What’s Emotional Safety?

Emotional safety means that 1) you’re comfortable feeling your emotions, and when appropriate*, 2) expressing those emotions to others.

Telling yourself how you’re feeling comes first. But you can’t tell yourself how you’re feeling if you don’t know that. Ask yourself if you know how you’re feeling right now. Can you put words to it? Or does it somehow feel wrong or bad or scary to slow down for a sec and just feel what you feel?

There’s nothing wrong if you can’t. But it’s a lot healthier when you know how to do that. And it’s the first step in understanding emotional safety.

The second step is then being able to tell someone else how you’re feeling. This doesn’t mean telling other people what you think they’ve done wrong, how much they’ve messed up. It does mean that you can tell a friend, lover, colleague how you felt when they did something that bothered you.

*Note: the rules about healthy communication are a little bit different in a work setting. And if you’re in an emotionally, verbally or physically abusive intimate relationship, you aren’t safe. Please reach out for professional help.

Why is Emotional Safety Important?

Feeling emotionally safe is critically important to healthy relationships. as psychotherapist Ellen Boeder explains. Photo of two Santa Fe, NM doors painted light sky blue with gorgeous red ristra wreaths hanging from each door. Emotional safety is necessary for healthy relationships. If you're not feeling safe with your emotions and vulnerability, please reach out to The Santa Fe Therapist. Online counseling New Mexico. 87506, 87505, 87544, 87048

The latest research in neurobiology shows that emotional safety is one of the most important aspects of a satisfying connection in a loving relationship. We need to feel safe before we’re able to be vulnerable, and as Brene Brown reminds, us, ‘Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.

Some people get turned off by the idea of prioritizing safety in their relationship because they equate a ‘safe’ relationship with a ‘boring’ one, but it turns out that the secure relationship we all long for is cultivated best when we feel safe.

Stephen Porges, Ph.D., a pioneer in the field of neuroscience and one of the world’s leading experts on the autonomic nervous system, confirms that we have an imperative for safety deeply wired into our minds and bodies.

Porge’s Polyvagal Theory describes how our autonomic nervous system mediates safety, trust, and intimacy through a subsystem he calls the social engagement system. Our brain is constantly detecting through our senses whether we are in a situation that is safe, dangerous, or life threatening.

When our body and mind experience safety, our social engagement system enables us to collaborate, listen, empathize, and connect, as well as be creative, innovative, and bold in our thinking and ideas. This has positive benefits for our relationship as well as our lives in general.

Emotional Safety Example

Dur e Aziz Amna is the guest who’s keeping Melanie on her toes in this insightful, wide-ranging, and delightful podcast.
Aziz Amna grew up in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. She graduated from Yale College and the Helen Zell Writers’ Program at the University of Michigan. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Financial Times, and Aljazeera, among others. Winner of the 2019 Financial Times Essay Prize, she was long-listed for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award 2020.
Her brand-new debut novel is American Fever. And it’s a powerhouse of a novel. The protagonist, Hira, is an adolescent Pakistani girl who comes of age as an exchange student in rural Oregon.
Hira is a beautiful example of what it looks like when someone feels emotionally safe to both tell herself how she’s feeling, and communicate that to others around her. She doesn’t always get it right — she’s young. But throughout the book, either Hira herself, or the older Hira as narrator, has many insights that illustrate emotional safety.
Hira’s voice is impressive, with observations ranging from who she is to who she is not. Here’s one example, “I don’t yet know how to react to life—its sadness and disappointments—without blaming those around me, because I am only half formed and so it feels to me that I am nothing but the sum of other people’s actions.”
The conversation between Dur e Aziz Amna and Melanie touches on themes such as:
  • emigration and immigration
  • assimilation
  • what “home” means
  • globalization
  • racism and Othering
  • the challenges presented when we stereotype something
  • the place of one’s culture and tradition
  • the hubris, ignorance, and fear of at least some of “America” and Americans
Finally, Dur e and Melanie also talk about happiness and well-being in the 2nd half of this episode. Dur e has a lot to say about this and does so with style and grace.
This show is for snuggling down with a cuppa on a lazy early evening and spending the hour with friends enjoying each other’s company.

How The Santa Fe Therapist Can Help You Feel Emotionally Safe

I’m Melanie, the Santa Fe Therapist. Over the years, I’ve helped so many women who are struggling to find themselves again after experiencing a loss, or make a big life change. One thing I’ve learned is that profoundly positive things begin happening when you understand how to manage your emotions and learn how to calm down your nervous system.

And when you’re experiencing dark times in your life, it can seem hopeless. I know.

But it isn’t, I promise. Woman wearing a white linene blouse and jean jacket sitting in front of a natural stone wall in Santa Fe, NM. 11 tips on how to find joy in dark times. Emotional wellbeing, spiritual therapy, grief counseling w/ the Santa Fe Therapist. Online therapy in New Mexico. 87506, 87048, 87501, 87505g. 87501, 87122, 87506, 87048, 87544

Together, we’ll figure out what’s going on and what you need to begin feeling more in control and have developed the neuroscience strategies to help you find your joy again.

Your Emotions, Thoughts, and Actions are Connected

One of the most powerful ways to do that is to understand how your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are connected. When you learn how to …

  • make friends with your feelings,
  • manage your thoughts,
  • gently explore where to find your joy again,
  • your life will begin changing in positive, healthy ways.

The dark times won’t feel so dark and isolating, and you’ll start believing in life again.

In balancing the science of therapy with the art of healing, I’ll create an innovative program for you that sets you on a path of success from the very first session.

You can learn to not be afraid of how you’re feeling, and how to begin feeling satisfied with life and looking forward to your future.

Neuroscience, Eastern Wisdom, & Earth-based Practices

My compassionate, creative approach weaves together my ability to hear below the surface of the words with advanced degrees, years of specialized training, professional experience, and my own personal healing around grief.

One of my specialities is giving women the tools to cope with intense emotions. I use the latest neuroscience findings, and combine Western systems, Eastern wisdom, gentle Earth-based practices, as well as creative, innovative ideas to help you feel better as quickly as possible.

My clients usually work with me weekly for 8 to 12 months. As we work together, you’ll be getting tools for long-term success and learning and using strategies and techniques to serve you for many years.

You’ll work hard for sure. But won’t all be horrible and terrible! I love sharing ideas about good books and films and laughing together once in a while.

My hope for you is that you’ll feel safe every step of the way.

How to Get Help in Santa Fe, NM

When you reach out for professional help, you’re making an investment in yourself that can change in your life in the best of ways.

When you strengthen your self-esteem and build your self-confidence, you’ll begin feeling safe in this sometimes chaotic world. You’ll be able to be in the world on your terms … to work, and love, and live as part of you deeply knows is possible.

All you have to do is send me an email to schedule a free, 15-minute phone consultation: melanie@melanieharth.com. Let’s get you feeling better as quickly as possible.

The Santa Fe Therapist Offers Online Counseling in New Mexico

Online therapy helps busy women find the time away from day-to-day pressures to calm their nervous systems. It also makes it easy and convenient to process emotions and learn new neuroscience techniques to cope with challenges, heal the past, and begin building your future.

I strongly believe in the power of online counseling. Along with the research that proves its effectiveness, I see the positive benefits for clients every week. Click here if you’ve got questions about online therapy.

Online counseling from anywhere in New Mexico, including Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Taos, Los Alamos, Pecos, Las Vegas, Tesuque and El Dorado.

Other Services From The Santa Fe Therapist

The Santa Fe Therapist specializes in several areas of health, wellbeing, healing and recovery. I know that one size never fits all. My services are individualized to each client, and are based on your values, your needs and desires, and your goals. Beautiful adobe wall, with a wrought-iron gate and a small tree growing in front. Emotional safety is necessary for healthy relationships. If you're not feeling safe with your emotions and vulnerability, please reach out to The Santa Fe Therapist. Online counseling New Mexico. 87506, 87505, 87544, 87048

I offer individual adult counseling and guidance in Santa Fe NM for: