DRMacIver's Notebook

Being safe for others

Being safe for others

It will come as no surprise to the regular reader of this blog that personal growth is a bit of a thing for me right now. It is unlikely to come as a surprise (given that I’m writing about growth and run a support group) that I’m also keen to help others with theirs. I’ve had a lot of good experiences on this front recently, many of which I owe to other people, and want to help pay it forward, both to my friends and also to random people on the internet.

One of the skills that seems most helpful in doing this is being safe to tell things to. People are mostly OK at the desire part, and where they’re not you can’t really help them with that outside of a very close relationship, but everyone is lacking in safety, and if you’re to be able to provide people with a platform for growth you need to be able to extend that safety to them.

There is only one thing you really must do for this: Don’t react badly, especially don’t react judgementally, when people tell you things that they’ve been hiding about themself. You need to be someone people can extend trust to.

This is, of course, extremely difficult in general. If someone confesses to some truly terrible crime, of course you’re going to react badly to it, no matter how highly you think of them. It doesn’t matter how much good faith you’re extending, some things are just too much. Fortunately, usually it isn’t this bad.

I’m not yet sure what to advise on developing this skill, but some things that seem to help:

A lot of these are, of course, the skills that one learns to apply as a therapist, but I’m hopeful that more people can develop them without retraining as therapists.