Shandra Lee. With Heart Wide Open. A Miracle In The Making.

“The world is fraught with danger”. Try saying it…”the world is fraught with danger”. It just rolls off your lips. This is a favorite quote of my friend Ms E. During trying times she repeats it and we laugh or sigh, depending on the circumstances… unfortunately though, it is true.

The world IS a dangerous and stressful place. Which is why cultivating an attitude of gratitude is so important. Remember? When last we were together you were encouraged to see the beauty and comfort in the smallest of every day events. What have you discovered? The smile of your child, the morning sunrise, the way your favorite chair fits you so perfectly, the sheets against your skin? All these are images and reminders we carry through our day to draw upon in moments of need..to bring peace, a smile, feelings of well-being.

Perhaps you are already familiar with some of the research on gratitude? Gratitude strengthens social ties and cultivates an individuals sense of interconnectedness. Gratitude strengthens one’s sense of self-worth. When we experience gratitude we understand that another person wishes us well. In turn we feel loved and cared for. One reason gratitude makes us feel happier is that it forces us to abandon a belief that the world is devoid of goodness, love and kindness. But how do we create new beliefs that see the world as good, lovely and safe?

Safe people. Safe relationships. Seems simple. The difficulty, of course, is that so many of us don’t realize when we have unsafe people in our lives and that we have the responsibility (and ability) to make changes. Until we come to terms with our own issues, and make true changes within, we are doomed to repeat the dynamics of toxic entanglements…or isolation.  At some point then our tender human hearts become disconnected with our values, our beliefs and in conflict with our true needs and desires.  Sound familiar anyone? 

People of character do just the opposite. Safe people. They respect our feelings over their own desires. They are able to connect, over time, in a way we know they are present.  Safe people. They prove, over time, they truly want the best for another. The lives of Safe People say “Grace to you”. Grace and the absence of condemnation…you are accepted without shame, without wrath for what you are experiencing…accepted just as you are. Safe People. Safe Relationships. Gratitude.

The attributes of safe relationships draw us closer to God, draw us closer to others and help us become the authentic person we are intended to be. This type of relationship looks past the imperfections of humanness and says ‘friend’. Safe relationships change and heal character and sanctify. Safe relationships encourage us to become people of character who choose other people of character. To engage with and be present for safe people. Not perfect people. Safe People. What a beautiful step. What a wonderful process.

So, my challenge is to ask your self how safe are your people? Your relationships? How safe are you? Yes, it goes both ways. I am recognizing that I create safe places for others in very functional ways by doing, by serving, by listening. I consider myself a safe person for others. But am I? and the answer is yes, up to a point. I am in the midst of embracing the six characteristics it takes to BE a truly Safe Person. It is still a growth opportunity to allow new people in to see my heart, rather than resisting or pushing them away. Pressing past the functional, to change my pattern of relating…it takes time. It takes healing. It takes recognizing that we humans are loaded with ways to keep our hearts from encountering loving, supportive people. Recognizing the traits of  people who can be fraught with danger, then leaning in when we encounter the opposite. Safe People.

I am surrounded with a growing Circle of Safety…relationships with Safe People who I trust to speak the truth and to whom I listen, as painful at times, as it may be. Safe people with whom I share my hopes, hurts, ask for help and share my heart.  Having people in our lives who want the best for us. Their gift of themselves to me forever changed my life and I am forever grateful.  My hope is that you too would have an increasing wealth of  Gratitude, Safe Relationships with Safe People.

Sharing My Wide Open Heart With Gratitude, until next time…Shandra

 ~~~~~~learn more in the books “Safe People and “Boundaries” by Drs. Cloud and Townsend

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