“Shame dies when stories are told in safe places.” – Ann Voskamp
We all know what it feels like to struggle with shame. Just hearing the word “shame”, can start to conjure up the feelings.
But how to free ourselves from this burden that we bear?
What often helps the most is to share with someone safe, with someone understanding, who truly cares for you.
But how do we decipher who a safe person is? He or she should possess the following attributes:
1. They listen. Really listen. Carefully, and with compassion. They are also non-judgmental in the way they listen to you. You can sense that they are trying to get behind your eyes, and understand the feelings and events from your standpoint.
2. They validate your feelings. They ‘get’ the way you feel, and why you feel the way you do. Also, they tell you that your feelings and reactions are all normal.
Thus, they don’t correct your feelings, tell you how you ought to feel, or communicate your feelings are dysfunctional or wrong.
4. They communicate understanding. They don’t utter platitudes, resort to giving you advice, or suggest trite, easy answers to a complex situation.
5. They are patient and accepting. They allow you to take things at a pace that works for you. Thus, you don’t feel under pressure to make some kind of progress. They let you change you mind, be inconsistent, or stand still.
For their goal is not to fix you; it’s to go through this with you.
6. They are comfortable with silence. Sometimes, we want to sit silence – for there’s nothing to be said. No words can ease the heartache, and the facts cannot be changed.
A safe person knows this. They are simply there with you. They offer you their presence so you don’t feel so alone.
7. They are completely trustworthy. You know this person talks to no-one. What you share will stay with them. You know they’ll never gossip. They will take this to the grave.
For them … a confidence … is a confidence … is a confidence. Period.