Are you a safe person?
Do you know what it means to be a safe person and how to surround yourself with other safe people who know how to give to the relationship as well as taken, when needed?
Three years ago I began to ask myself these probing questions.
I realized, my inner circle was filled with people who continually wanted things from me, but never gave back to the friendship.
The phone rarely rang on my end, and usually when the person needed something from me.
I was lonely and empty.
How to Surround Yourself With Safe People
Here’s the thing:
While my inner circle wasn’t filled with healthy friendships, I wasn’t a healthy friend either. Inside I was full of disappointment, hurt, fear, jealousy and anger.
Very toxic and poisonous emotions that will ruin an otherwise healthy relationship.
I was an unhealthy person with an unhealthy inner circle of friends. But I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be a good friend who attracted good friends.
At a low point in my life emotionally, I remembered a book that I had been given: Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t
I devoured this book in a matter of days. I took notes, underlined portions and then went back and read it again.
Drs Henry Cloud and John Townsend start the book of by talking about unsafe people:
and their personal and interpersonal traits. Within the first few of chapters you are easily able to identify those in your life who are sucking the life-blood from you with their negative and toxic behavior.
But best of all, you are able to identify those negative traits you possess that poison your relationships – because let’s face it; 99.9% of the time both sides are at fault!
But they don’t stop there. They move on to part two of the book: “Do I Attract Unsafe People?”
It was in this part of the book that I began to see how I’d been stuck in a quagmire of toxic friendships for years: ranging from fair-weather friends, to overly-clingy friends, to friends who only remembered me when their other friends weren’t available…
It was time to shift these friends to more of the periphery of my life so that I could make room for safe friendships….and to learn to become a safe friend.
This particular quote jumped out at me, and was what made me finally reach out to a few girls who had swarmed around me and decided to call me their bestie.
“Be aware that when you’re hurting, a voice may tell you, ‘Why bother others? They’ll see how weak you are. Where’s your faith?’ It may be an idea planted by the Tempter to keep you from safe people.”
At this point, I wasn’t sure if I wanted a bestie.
I was a little raw….and a little cynical.
But I decided to open my heart and take a chance. I poured my heart out to them one day, sharing with them my heavy burden. And do you know what happened?
They didn’t offer advice
They didn’t preach a sermon
They surrounded me and prayed over me. They cried with me.
Slowly over time, as I opened my heart to safe friends, my own unhealthy habits began to rise to the surface and I began to deal with them one-by-one.
Drs. Cloud and Townsend wrap up the book by talking a bout who safe people are – because we will recognize safe people by knowing who they are and not just by identifying who they aren’t. They answer the questions:
- How do I become safe?
- Where can I find safe people?
- Should I repair or replace my unsafe relationships?
“Safe people [are] those individuals who truly make us better by their presence in our lives. Safe people are individuals who draw us closer to being the people God intended us to be.”
Safe People is by far one of the best books I’ve read on relationships. While it delves into areas of psychology and therapy, it is well balanced with scripture.
I recommend that every person read this book. It is an amazing personal tool, as well as a great tool for Bible Study groups and for counselors to use with those they are counseling.
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- Rosilind, a Pacific Northwest native, is a missionary living in Croatia and married to her hero. Together they live in the country with their 2 active boys where she enjoys fruity candles and a hot cup of herbal tea on a blustery fall evening. She holds an Associates of Practical Theology and is passionate about discipling and encouraging women. Her passion for writing led her to author a number of books. She is the author of A Little R & R where she encourages women to find contentment in what God created them to be. She can also be found at these other places on a regular basis. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google +.