January 17, 2024
How to Know If Your Relationships Are Secure
This journal shares the transcript of Episode 011 of The Designed Life Podcast. In this episode, Hollis explores the nuances of identifying, understanding, and cultivating security in relationships, whether it be a one-on-one connection, a group setting, or even our relationship to self.

This journal shares the transcript of Episode 011 of The Designed Life Podcast. In this episode, Hollis explores the nuances of identifying, understanding, and cultivating security in relationships, whether it be a one-on-one connection, a group setting, or even our relationship to self.

Listen to the episode.

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Hollis: I have always been really fascinated by relationships and how people interact with one another. For some reason, human to human connection and interaction and everything that goes along with all of that has always fascinated me. What empathy means, what connection means, what trust means, what hurting someone means, what dialogue means. All these things that combined make up the fabric of interconnectedness and what it means to be in relationship with others. And so I've spent most of my life observing myself in relationship and observing people around me in relationship while also doing my best to study and research as much of it as possible. What it means to be a human interacting with other humans, and it's a vast subject, right? It's a vast area of study. It's not even just one subject. It's many, many subjects. But it is an area of life that is just endlessly fascinating to me. And one of the areas that I find the most important, not just for being a human living with other human beings, but especially right now, in the context of our history in this country and in the state of the world, is what does security mean in relationships? What does trust actually look like? What does it mean to feel safe when you're in a relationship with the other person or with many people? And so today I'm going to be exploring what that looks like and what that means because I think we all know what it's like to not feel safe in relationships, whether that be a relationship with another person, in a group setting, or even in relationship with ourselves.

I think it's important to clarify what does safety and security mean? How can we identify it? And how can we work to cultivate it so that it's something that we experience on a regular basis as a foundational key component to our ability to thrive and feel stable and rooted and supported in who we are and where we're going.  

A few years ago I found myself in a very controlling romantic relationship and a very kind of bullying relationship with the business partner at the same time. At the time I remember knowing, really, really deep down that something was wrong in both relationships. But I didn't know what it was, and I didn't know how to name it. And because I didn't know how to name it, I didn't know how to work with it. I felt every single day, this impending sense of doom, this deep anxiety that hit me the second I woke up and followed me until I was so exhausted that I had to sleep. I suffered from insomnia. I lost a ton of weight because I couldn’t eat. And I just was struggling all around.  

I had two thriving businesses at the time. This is when I owned a yoga studio in Ridgewood, Queens, and I still had my graphic design business at the time. And so from the outside, things looked like they were going really well. But on the inside. I felt deeply insecure about the people that I had chosen to surround myself with in my love life and in my business. So looking back at that period of time in my life. I would have loved to know what security meant in a relationship. And I think many of us fall into these types of relationships where all of a sudden we wake up one day and we realize that we feel really unsafe or we're feeling increasingly insecure about ourselves. And it's due to the fact that we've chosen somebody or we've chosen a relationship dynamic that is making us feel less and less connected to who we are, the strength of character that we have within us, and the value that we bring to the table. So it's my goal in this particular podcast episode to talk about how security is represented in relationship dynamics and how we can witness it and cultivate it and build it.  

So first I want to define what safety mean. Just the definition of safety so that we have a baseline for discussing what safety and security feel like. So, safety is the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk or injury. And when we think about this in a relationship capacity, this means that we are not being put in any physical harm or we're not likely to become injured purposefully. And on an emotional level, we have to also consider that we will not be put in danger or harm's way emotionally. Meaning that we will not be emotionally abused or harmed or hurt purposefully by another person. This is relatively straightforward, right? When someone purposefully physically injures you or purposefully, emotionally injures you, that is creating an environment that is not safe. And even though that might seem pretty explicit and clear, there are obviously situations in which we are connected to another person very deeply and either we, or the other person, purposefully harms us out of anger, out of hurt, or out of fear.  

The thing about relationships is that we enter into them with everything that we've carried with us in our own lives. And I always love to think about relationships as these containers for healing. We're meant to connect. We're meant to grow. We're meant to see ourselves reflected back to us. We're meant to support and love and care for one another, but also the more we feel safe and supported by the other person, the more our past wounds and previous injuries can start to come to the surface in order to be healed. So no matter what relationship you're in, there will be moments where hurt comes up and it might not be necessarily connected to the person who's in the relationship with you. It might be something from the past that is being triggered by the person that you're currently with. But if we remember that relationships are containers for healing, we can remember that there is space for evolution, we can start to look at the hurt that we carry with us and examine and ask, is this something that is actually being provoked by the person that I'm with? Or is this something from the past that is being provoked and brought to the surface in order for me to heal? And can I heal this with the person that I'm with? I think that one of the strongest testaments to a relationship is if you can bring your past hurts to the table, even if they're being provoked by the person that you're with, and work on healing them with the other person. If the other person offers you the space, the ear, the support, the encouragement, the honesty to be able to look at what you might have been holding for a long time and work on it with you, then that is a very key component to creating a sense of security and safety.  

So being protected entirely from physical or emotional harm is not necessarily guaranteed in every relationship. I think we all know that. However, when we're talking about some of these components, I want to be very clear that there is a boundary line beyond which a relationship becomes unsustainable or unhealthy. But you get to determine where that boundary line exists, we all go into our relationships with a lot of conditioning from our families, from our cultures, from media, from what we've witnessed and been exposed to in our own lives. And that will determine the relationships that we attract and the boundaries that we're comfortable with. But my boundaries and relationships and my romantic relationships, business partnerships, friendships, familial relationships, etc., are not going to be the same as yours, and so it's important to consider, especially when it comes to physical and emotional safety and not being harmed, what is that boundary line? What does physical harm look like? Because that can be really vast. It's not just the initial domestic violence imagery that we might think of, it could also be anything to do with food, environment, sexual behavior. So what does that look like for you? And then emotional harm? Same thing. Some people are much more comfortable with the teasing or really poking at someone in their soft spot, and that can be a part of a relationship dynamic, if that's fun and comfortable for you. Maybe it even provides more safety and security. But for others, that might feel limiting and constricting and critical. So what is that sense of physical and emotional protection from harm? What does that look like for you? And I encourage you, as I go through these components of security, that you write down a few things or come back and jot down a few ideas that you have so that you get really clear. What are the boundaries that you have around these components to security and relationship?

So after that foundational level of safety being defined, the next thing that I think is a very key component to the cure is being allowed to be vulnerable. Vulnerability is the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally. So this goes back to what I was just describing, where perhaps you are recognizing that some really painful history is starting to come up for you and it's time for you to bring it to the surface and work through it with your partner. And again, when I say partner, I'm not just talking about romantic partner, but business partner, close friend, family, etc. Being able to bring that kind of intimacy and honesty and feeling able to express it in such a way that feels safe, that you feel like you will be seen, that you will be heard. That what you have experienced will be acknowledged, and then will also be supported in whatever way that you need. This is also extremely key to building on that foundational security and relationship.  

You know, when I think back to one of the first interactions, I had with my business partner (this is before we even opened the yoga studio), I was really unsure about the business partnership. It was my first time really making a huge financial leap with another person, and as excited as I was about it, I had doubts, and I was confused, and I wanted to work out some of the details with my business partner. And I was young. I was 28 at the time. And, you know, I really didn't know too much about what bullying looked like because I experienced it a little bit as a child, but not to the point where I could identify it or pinpoint if I was experiencing it. So anyways, I brought my concerns to my business partner and what I got in response was essentially verbal bullying. Really making me feel like I didn't know what I was talking about, that I was a dishonest person and that it was an all or nothing kind of scenario that I either had to commit fully to the business partnership or essentially just let go of everything. And I think back to that conversation that I had and how I just had some doubts that I wanted to be expressed and wanted to clarify, and what I got in return was defensiveness and making me feel as though something was wrong with me.  

And I know that as I share this story, there are so many of you thinking of very, very similar situations where you have brought something to the table in a relationship with somebody else and wanted to work on it with them, and you've been met with defensiveness or anger or aggression. And that is a clear red flag, right? That is a clear warning sign that this relationship does not have the space for vulnerability, for healing, for discussion, for insecurity. That you, in particular, might not be allowed to have that space because of the insecurities of the other person or the doubts of the other person. So that's a clear example of insecurity in a relationship, but the opposite of that, what security would look like? It is being met with openness, with compassion, with understanding, with the space to want to work through whatever it is that you're bringing to the table. Not only that, but with the sincere desire to be understood.  

So much of relationships is about listening to the other person, and not just listening in the sense that you hear what they're saying but really, really empathizing, really being able to hear their experience and speak to their experience and help them feel seen and understood and validated, and then working from that space. So even if you're in a conflict with the other person, even if vulnerability is being expressed around a conflict, there is still the desire and the space for you to both be seen, acknowledged, recognized, heard, and validated. There is no space for conflict resolution, if there is not space for vulnerability. When I think about conflict, and I think I say this all the time so if I've said it in another podcast, I apologize, but it's two opposing forces coming together to find a resolution that works for both parties. You cannot find a resolution that works for both parties or for all people involved unless there is clear space for all people to be vulnerable and to express what their needs are. And for those needs to be heard. So, vulnerability is the second biggest component.  

And what does that look like for you? What does vulnerability look like for you? When have you felt the most vulnerable in your relationships and how have you been responded to? How has that vulnerability been received by the other person? How have you been able to, not only express, but grow from that expression of vulnerability, and it's not just vulnerability in expressing how you've been hurt or how you are hurt, but also how you love and how you express affection and connection with the other person.  

I think a lot of us also struggle with really expressing our deep, sincere affection and appreciation of other people because we have a hard time receiving that for ourselves. And It's not modeled to us very well. You know, this sort of like fake-humbleness is modeled to us in a really strong way, but being able to earnestly express love and appreciation for someone is a very deep and very real expression of vulnerability. So, when have you done that and how has it been received? And if you've had experiences that have been less than secure, think of moments where you've expressed yourself in a really vulnerable and exposing way and you've been met with sarcasm or insincerity or, as I said before, anger or defensiveness. What would you have wanted to receive in that moment? Because what you would have wanted is your definition of what being able to be vulnerable looks like in a relationship.  

And then how have you also made space for other people to be vulnerable? When have other people come to you and expressed their hearts or their affection, or their deep, sincere emotions and experiences? And how have you returned that space for vulnerability? And if you are thinking of experiences where maybe you didn’t responded in the way that you wanted to, how could you do it better next time? How could you do it with more alignment in who you are? And how can you amplify those responses for future experiences with others?  

Now, to piggyback on that aspect of security, the next thing that I would really focus on is resiliency from conflict. And if you think about relationships that you've had in your life, this is where I start to think about family members. I don't have siblings myself, I have two step brothers who I'm not super close to, but I think about other people with siblings or even parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, there are lots of opportunities for conflict. But family, for the most part, stick together. I'm not going to say they stick together all the time, because families do separate and there are unfortunate circumstances in which families divide themselves, but for the most part they stick together. There is the phrase ‘blood is thicker than water’ and a lot of people do take it to heart. There is a kind of important quality that comes with being in a family dynamic that can also blend into our other relationships, and that quality is resiliency from conflict. How do you have a conflict, resolve that conflict, work through that conflict, and then continue to grow because of that conflict?  

There are so many studies that show that the most successful relationships are those that have fights, have disagreements, have arguments, and bounce back from them. Work through them, work with them, grow from them, and evolve from them. Again, when we're thinking about relationships as containers for healing and containers for growth, there's going to be friction, there's going to be soft spots that become exposed, those vulnerable spots, right? And we have to be able to move through that friction and those sensitive pain points to be able to get to the other side and heal and evolve and continue moving forward. We have to be able to develop some sort of scar tissue which, by the way, ends up becoming the toughest connective tissue in the body. So we can think about creating some sort of scar tissue or creating a wound and then healing and developing scar tissue as a metaphor for our relationships. We're really creating some of the strongest, toughest parts of our relationships that are so resilient, so foundational, and so key to our stability and security. We have a whole podcast episode about conflict in relationships specifically, but again, I just want to touch on what resilience from conflict can look like. For a deeper dive, you can look at one of our earlier episodes which is navigating conflict in relationships.  

Again, on an essential level, conflict is two opposing forces coming together to find a resolution that works for both parties and the most important aspect of resolving conflict is honesty and vulnerability. So, if we've already established that vulnerability is accessible, that there's space for vulnerability in the relationship, then it's possible to express vulnerability in conflict. And the second aspect to that is being able to be honest, to be sincere, and to be clear with what it is that we're expressing. And for this, I really recommend taking time, taking space, and writing things down when high emotions are involved (as they usually are in conflict). It can be easy to not see what is going on clearly. So taking time, taking space, taking whatever you need to be able to clarify and soften some of the intense emotions and then see specifically what's going on so that you can speak to the experience, rather than just the emotions, or with the emotion, can be really helpful in naming what it is that has been hurt. And then name what it is that you need and make the request for that need to be met.  

This is where I also really recommend looking into nonviolent communication as a practice. It's something that I use with my coaching clients, something that I teach with my coaching clients. It's a fantastic resource in providing language and structure when something has been hurt. If you have been wronged in a relationship, if something has been broken, to be able to start building the conversation around how to take action steps to rebuild whatever has been damaged. And so, with vulnerability, with honesty and communication, then also, and this is potentially one of the toughest parts about conflict resolution, is having compassion.  

Whenever I think about conflicts, I don't necessarily think of them all as 50/50. You know, obviously, sometimes conflicts happen out of nowhere and can be very one-sided. But there are always at least two people involved, and there is usually something that one person, even if they are ‘the victim’ of the harming can look to and see how they can resolve the conflict, even if it means just expressing their needs, because they need to know that needs can be met. Now, obviously, here we're talking about security in relationships, so if you're bringing a conflict to the table and you're attempting to be vulnerable, you're attempting to be honest, you're attempting to express compassion, and those things are not being met in return, then that's creating insecurity and instability, right? However, if it is being met in return, if you are able to express and receive compassion, if the other person is expressing compassion, then it is creating so many pathways towards building that scar tissue weaving those threads of connective tissue to move forward past that conflict. This is, really quickly, where I want to address a question that was sent in from one of the listeners, which is: How do you know if your relationship is insecure or if you're just going through a tough time?

This is something that I would like to leave to you to think about, because this is a boundary line that will be different for everybody. I have an aunt who has been married to her husband for decades...I don't know how long, but they've been married since they were very young. And she, she told my cousin once, ‘There were years that I hated him. Years. Years! And then there are years that I loved him more than any other person on the planet.’  

So when we're thinking about the context of our relationships, I want you to think about what the longevity is and if this is someone that you're deeply committed to. I have best friends who I've gone months without talking to or we've had weird tiffs and not spoken for a year and we get over it and we move on grow from that and heal from that. And so, every relationship is going to look different in terms of what a tough time is or what deep insecurity is. And also how much you want to put up with the tough times because that will look different for absolutely everybody. When I'm talking about insecurity, real foundational insecurity, we can name just the things that I've already addressed. Your boundaries for physical and emotional safety, the ability to not be harmed. Are those being crossed on a regular basis? Is there space for you to be vulnerable or is there no space for you to be vulnerable? When there's no space for you to be vulnerable, that is likely creating insecurity. Are you able to resolve from conflict in a way that meets both of your needs or all people's needs? And if not, that's likely a sign of insecurity.  

So again, going through a tough time, that part is variable to you. But just looking at what we've already discussed, you can start to ask yourself, is this a secure relationship or is this insecure? And one of the biggest things that you can examine is do you doubt yourself in the relationship or how often do you doubt yourself in the relationship? How often do you doubt your own opinions, your own choices, your own preferences, your own abilities, your own talents?  

When I think about the very manipulative and controlling romantic relationship I was in, the biggest thing that it created was self-doubt. I was doubting virtually everything about myself. That was the biggest sign of insecurity, not just in myself, but in the relationship. The relationship was insecure, and it was triggering insecurity in me. So, very clearly, you can know the quality of insecurity by the doubt you have in yourself and the depth of that doubt. If you experience a little bit of doubt in a relationship, that might be healthy every once in a while, because that causes a little bit of friction for growth. But if you're experiencing a lot of it, it is probably an insecure relationship.  

I just have two more key components to what I think your relationship requires and how you can spot it and how you can build it, but to wrap up this section, I would love for you to think about relationships that you've been in where you've had conflict and the conflicts have gone unresolved in a ways that make you feel unsupported, doubtful, when your needs have not been met or given to you. And you felt like there has been something lacking or there has been a loss because of the lack of resiliency from the conflict. And then I would love for you to think of a time or an experience where you've had conflict with somebody and you are able to be vulnerable, honest, and express compassion. You are able to resolve that conflict and move on and get stronger. You can use these two examples to then define what resiliency from conflict looks like for you. What are the boundaries? What's the definition? What does it look like? What does it feel like so that you can know it and spot it again in the future?  

The second to last thing that I will bring up is built on all of these things. And that is trust. Trust is produced by proof of action, not just words, but action. And trust is the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. So when we're talking about trust in another person, we're talking about words that are followed up by actions. Actions that connect to what somebody says they're going to do, that their character represents who they say they are. I really want to emphasize the proof of action aspect because people can say all sorts of things. They can pretend to be all sorts of things, but their actions will clearly tell you if they're reliable, trustworthy, honest, and if they show up with integrity.  

It takes a little bit of time to observe this because, I think a lot of us enter into relationships with a certain level of trust and then that trust either gets disproven or approved, affirmed. I want you to think about a relationship where you've met somebody and then after a little bit of time, you've recognized that perhaps they aren't who they say they are, or they've said they're going to do things and they do the opposite, or they behave in the opposite way. They, over time, prove to be untrustworthy people. Then I'd like for you to think about people who you've met that have affirmed that trust by proof of action. They've shown up, they've done what they said they're going to do and continue to do so.  

Trust is a funny thing, right? Trust is also something that can be given to people, and they can rise to the occasion. Trust is also something that can be given and people can take advantage of it. So, think about those moments too, where you've trusted somebody, perhaps without proof of action, without previous proof of action that they'll do it, and they've really risen to the occasion. Think about when that trust has been offered to you as well. When have you shown up, perhaps for a new job or in a new relationship, and somebody has given you a responsibility or made a request and you've really shown up and done what you've been asked. And then think about the times when you've extended trust to somebody and they've broken that trust, and perhaps also when you've done that as well. Perhaps when somebody has given you a secret or something that is really close to them that they don't want you to share and you shared it. Start to refine what does this trust bubble look like? What are the edges? How has it shaped? What would define betrayals of trust on small and bigger levels? And you can use experiences that you've already had.

And then the last component of security in a relationship is kind of two-parter. It's being able to ask and receive support. But also being able to be seen. To have space for yourself in that relationship. And why am I putting these two things together? Well, because being able to ask and receive support is absolutely key to feeling like you are being held in a relationship. That you're on a team, that somebody has got your back and that, even if you don't have the resources, don't have the energy, don't have the time, you will still be held. You will still be taken care of. You will still be supported and there's space for you to ask for that support. That is absolutely key to continuing and furthering the security of our relationship. But also being able to be seen and having space for yourself is also part of that, and I wanted to also name that distinction. Being able to be seen kind of ties back to the vulnerability aspect of security in relationships, but it's also being heard being validated, being acknowledged in a way where you really feel like you're being witnessed. This is something that I almost don't know how to describe because it's such a felt experience, but when you feel seen, when somebody looks at you or when they reflect you back to yourself and you're like that is me. You actually see me and you see me because you have made space to see me. You listen to me. You empathize with my experience. You allow me the space to express myself and be vulnerable and you absorb enough of me so that you can then support me in the way that I need to be supported. You can hold me in the way that I need to be held. I can ask you for help and you can know how to help me. And this is a soft one. You know, this is sort of a tricky one because we're not always going to be seen in the way that we see ourselves or that we want to be seen. We're not always going to get the help that we need or that we want, that is going to be the most effective for what it is that we're going through. That said, I think if people are making the effort to see and understand just who you are and are doing their best to help in whatever way that they can, that's a key component to security in the relationship because that then creates the space and the possibility to refine what that looks like. Refine your needs. Refine how it is that you express yourself and how you are received by the other person, but there has to be that space too, and that ability to start.  

And when I say this, I'm really hoping, I'm banking on the fact, that you probably know what I'm talking about. It's a very clear experience when you're not seen or when you ask for help, and that help is not given or you need support and that support is not there or there's no space for your needs or for that support. Similarly, with all these other aspects of security, I want you to think about relationships that you have been in where you have been able to ask for support and help, and that support has been given. And how was it returned? How was that experience? What did it look like? What did it feel like? And also, what relationships do you have now or had in the past where you clearly felt like you were being seen, and that space is being made for you? Where you don't have to show up and be the therapist, the healer, the helper, the supporter, the one who takes care of everything. There is space made for you to be able to vent, to unwind, to fall apart even, and to be held by the other person and be really witnessed in your experience. And in conjunction with that, what are the relationships that have felt really validating because, again, you've been reflected back to yourself by the other person and it feels as though they really know you and acknowledge you?  

Alternatively, think about the relationships where those things have not been made available. When there's not been space for you, there's not been space for your support. And how does that also define this last component of security? All of these things make up the multidimensional quality of security in any relationship dynamic.  

I do want to address a few other questions that have come in that are connected to this whole topic. And the first one is: How do you advocate for what you need in relationships?  

This is where I would go back to nonviolent communication as a resource, as a tool. The general formula is to first name what hurt you, secondly name what you need, and then lastly, very clearly, state it as a request. Can this need be met?  

And I know that can be difficult in itself, because sometimes just knowing what we need can be huge. But I truly believe that if we give ourselves the space and the time to focus on what it is that's missing. We can start to define what it is that needs to be given to us. When I think about those two really, really tough relationships, I simply didn't know that I was in a deeply insecure relationship with my romantic partner and my business partner. I felt it, but I didn't have the language. It was over time that I started recognizing what my felt experience was and I started being able to observe which specific interactions and experiences were triggering my insecurity. These experiences were clearly not allowing me to be vulnerable or express myself to be seen or to be heard.  

The more I paid attention and brought mindfulness to those experiences, the more I was able to thread the connections and start to pay attention to what was missing. If I was experiencing insecurity, what would make me feel secure in those moments? And sometimes it's as simple as that. If you're looking at an experience and you know that your needs are not being met, think about the alternative. If you had it perfectly and exactly how you wanted it to be, what would be the difference? What would be the language difference? What would be the physical environment difference? What would be the felt experience difference, and how can you then create language to define what that difference is? And then, from there, being able to express that to the other person. That is advocating for what you need.  

And just to note too that this is answering another question which is: how do you know when you're having to advocate for yourself too much in relationships?  

This is where there's a boundary line that you have to set for yourself. Every relationship requires some sort of compromise. We're not exactly the same. We are not going to agree on everything. This is because relationships are containers for healing and healing does not happen if everything is super smooth sailing and there is no conflict or no friction. But if you find that you are consistently having to advocate for the same need over and over and over again, decide your limit. Because having our needs be met in a relationship, that's the component of being able to ask for and receive support. If you're not able to get that support and you have to make up for that support for yourself, that can be really hard. When it feels like it should be something that you can receive as a team member, as a teammate, with you and the other person in this relationship.  

So this is another area where I would say define a timeline. You know, if you find yourself consistently advocating for the same thing over and over and over, ask yourself, is this something that I can let go of that I don't actually need? Or if it is something that I do need, how long can I go? How many requests can I make, and when is the breaking point? And you'll know when the breaking point is. Because also, sometimes it just takes expressing it differently. Making the request differently and in different ways. Sometimes people need to hear it a few times. But if it's too much, then think about what you're willing to put up with.  

And then there are two more questions I'll just quickly address that have come in, and one is: How do you know when you're compromising too much for a relationship?  

And this is an energetic assessment because a relationship is a give and take. It's an energy exchange. And again, you're on a team. And if you find that you're giving a lot on this team and you're yielding a lot of your energy and it doesn't feel like there is a lot of energy being returned, to the point where you're exhausted, this is where I would start to ask yourself if there's too much of you being left out of the equation. Or are you taking on too much responsibility in the relationship? And this is an interesting question because compromise is unique to all of us. Some people are inherent givers, and they thrive on giving. And then, for some people, it needs to be a give and take, and it needs to feel more 50/50. And this is where the love languages can come into play, gifts, quality time, all of these ways of expressing love and affection can be considered. Sometimes when it feels like we might be giving too much to another person, they might also be feeling the same way, but it's not being met or it's not being expressed in a way that we can really see or need because it's not the kind of love that that really feeds us.  

So think about or assess how much energy you're spending on the relationship and how much you feel like you're not being included in the relationship. If you feel like, you're having to change your demeanor, change your appearance, change your behavior, if it's starting to feel like you're contorting yourself a lot. You'll know because you'll start to feel that doubt creep in more and more and more. Or alternatively, you also might feel anger because your boundaries are being crossed all the time and your integrity is being questioned often. I think that's when you'll know if you're compromising too much.

And I wouldn't say to cut out the relationship completely, but address it, try resolving conflicts, address your needs, advocate for your needs, and see how they get met in return. Sometimes we inherently give too much without realizing it and then become resentful because that ability to give is not being met in the way that we want to. Meanwhile, the other person feels like nothing is wrong. So, there's lots of ways to interpret this question. I would say assess your energy levels, assess how much you feel like you're not showing up in the relationship and then see how you can advocate for more space.  

And then the very last question is: How important is it to remain vulnerable to find security in relationships?

And I love this question because I feel like this is a key component to being a human and finding relationships. Being vulnerable is extremely important. I don't think that there is a way to truly connect, to deeply connect with another person, unless there is some expression of vulnerability. And vulnerability is inherently tied to courage and courage is connected to the heart, right? Cœur is French for Heart. Heart, courage, the ability to express from the heart. You can look to Brené Brown for so much about this very, very specific subject. But I think we can all know, we can all assess for ourselves, when we are able to express ourselves in a real, vulnerable, sincere way. That vulnerability scale will change depending on who you're with.  

Sometimes a statement that seems really small in one relationship can feel enormous to express in another relationship. So, know that you have got to take it with a grain of salt. Every relationship is going to be different. The vulnerability scale is going to feel different; the spectrum is going to feel different. But if you're able to express something sincerely from the heart and it's met, received, seen, and affirmed, that creates a tie that creates an added thread from your heart to the other person. That creates an opening that creates space. If you express vulnerability and it's not returned, obviously that can feel like a bit more of a shutting down, like a thread or an extension of yourself has been reached out and it has not been received. Vulnerability and being able to be vulnerable and having it received just deepens, deepens, deepens the foundation.

In one of the other relationship episodes, I talk about how every relationship is like this woven tapestry. And every connection is a thread from you to the other person that builds the foundation of the relationship and every expression of vulnerability. The more threads you have, the stronger tapestry you have. Yes, vulnerability, it's extremely important.  

Anyways, this is a very long episode, but in thinking about what we do here at Life Design and what I've discussed with my clients so many times, these are key components to any foundational aspect of a relationship. There's so much we could get into here. I could take each and every one of those components and dive into them. This is really just touching the surface, but I hope that you found this episode helpful, especially in thinking about your relationships. Which ones are secure and the ones that you perhaps aren't so sure about or are a little insecure about. If you are in the latter category, I really recommend answering some of those questions that I posed throughout the podcast. Just doing a little assessment.  

That will be it for today, friends. Thank you so much for listening. If you do work with any of the questions in this podcast, or if you have anything else that you want to share about your experiences with relationships, and security in relationships, we would love, love, love to hear from you. You can hit us up on the website or on socials.  

Thank you all so much for tuning in and we will see you in the next one. Bye for now!

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