3 Dec 2007
We all have life changing experiences. I believe that each life changing experience happens for a reason. I also believe that once the initial shock and hurt subsides it is a good time for self reflection. It is a good time for self evaluation, to determine how this change can improve who we are as individuals and how we can better contribute to our personal and professional relationships.
Many times these life changes involve relationships. Sometimes we are naive and trusting to a fault, and/or we have no real education in how to identify safe people verses unsafe people that come and go in our lives. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we knew ahead of time if a person was safe or not before we invested our time, love and energy and sometimes money into them?
In order to have continued success; spiritually, personally, professionally and financially, we have to be able to identify what type of people we are allowing into our lives. Are the people close to us, those in our spiritual, personally and professional lives safe or unsafe? Do the people around you help you improve who you are as a person? Do they help improve you professionally? Do they help improve you spiritually?
Do you help improve those around you? You see, not only do you need to identify safe people to be around, but you too must identify if you are a safe person for others to be around. It is important to correct areas in your life where you are unsafe.
We are all unsafe in some form. Nobody is perfect. However, the first thing that starts to identify you as a safe person is that you can recognize you are not perfect, that you are open for self improvement and personal development. As we improve who we are, we also help improve the safe people around us. Those who are unsafe many times are unable to admit their flaws or if they can admit a flaw, they seldom, if ever, focus on personal development, behavior change or self improvement, they instead focus more on the flaws of others.
As you have probably figured out by now, I am a big fan of personal development/self improvement books, especially those with a Christian perspective. Recently I came upon a book by the same authors of the exceptional book “Boundaries.” This book, “Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t” is also a must read.
I have always believed that there is good in most people. I also believed and know that life if full of hurts, people will hurt you, it is part of relationships. One thing that many of us sometimes get caught up in is that even someone who knows the word of God and professes to be a Christian can hurt and be untrustworthy. Sadly, even people who professes to be “Christian” can be unsafe.
Many of us do not recognize or acknowledging the signs of an unsafe person. Many of us just don’t know how to recognize an unsafe person. Instead we may focus on who a person may portray themselves to be rather than who and what their actions show they are.
Safe people help you to grow. They are constantly pushing you to extend yourself in new ways, and you are pushing them as well, a one-sided relationship is also unsafe.
The following are 7 key characteristics present in safe people, keep in mind that only time truly will tell if a person has these traits or not, many unsafe people will mask themselves for a period of time, but time will always show true character, and character is who a person is when no one is looking.
1. Safe people are non-judgmental.
When you get serious about dealing with a problem of any kind, you need people who are not spending their time judging you for your mistakes. Safe people don’t judge you.
2. Safe people listen.
When you reach out for help you need people who will really listen to your struggles. Safe people let you share your story and all the difficulty you have faced in carrying a burden. There is empathy with safe people. While they may not have experienced your specific trouble, they listen with their heart and want to truly help.
3. Safe people maintain strong boundaries.
One of the dangers of seeking out safe people is that you might be so amazed at their compassion and care that you begin to move too close too quickly, they encourage you to make a quick decision to commit to them, to make an investment, or something else that may truly need some distance, time and/or research before making a final decision. Safe people, however, also know how to establish and maintain healthy boundaries that represent appropriate interaction and assistance. They won’t push you to make a decision you are not ready to make.
4. Safe people are reliable and respect the commitments they make.
Trust, is critical in any relationship of any kind. Trust is easily broken when an unsafe person does not follow through on the commitments they make. Safe people can be counted on, keep their promises, maintain your confidence in them and don’t give you reason to doubt their words.
5. Safe people are honest and tell the truth in love.
Some people who may appear to be safe are really just looking for a way to present themselves as superior potentially to get what “they” want. Safe people know how to tell you the truth in love. They are not pointing out your weaknesses to pump themselves up, but rather to help you move toward improvement and personal development and a life that truly brings satisfaction.
6. Safe people pray for wisdom and are humble.
Anyone willing to help another person must understand that they need wisdom. And gaining wisdom requires humility. You can often spot the safe people by how often they ask God for wisdom, knowing that apart from His leading they could lead you astray. These are the kind of people you want around when traveling the road to recovery from any form of hurt or other problem you are attempting to solve in your life.
7. Safe people help you get help.
Finally, safe people know their limitations and have a heart of willingness to get you the help you need. They will walk with you as you expand your network of support to include a counselor, a good investment advisor or other individuals to help you reach your goal toward life success.
To put it all in one small package, safe people are not critical, but can lovingly point out areas where you can improve as well as suggest how to make those improvements when needed. They are reliable, trustworthy, honest, and consistent. If they have done something to hurt you, you should be able to share with them that hurt and have them understand and assure you the behavior will not occur again and it not occur, rather then them act out defensively, or “promise” it won’t happen again only to have it happen after a few weeks or months. Safe people can only be found over time, with proven, consistent behavior. Safe people are people with a good character, they are not perfect, they are open and honest about who they are.
After reading this book I have learned that unfortunately there seems to be more unsafe people around us then safe people. Many unsafe people are very good at portraying themselves to be safe. People who seem to be safe, sometimes have such emotional issues that they are unable to share their lives with others in an honest trustworthy relationship, these people many times go through life mimicking what they think a safe relationship should be rather than emotionally connecting. For these people time is their enemy as they can not keep up the “appearance” of a safe person for long and many times they hurt those who invest in them, those who are not educated in spotting an unsafe person.
“Safe People: How to Find Relationships that are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t” should be required reading for everyone and I highly recommend it. It will help in all areas of your life, spiritual, personal, professional. And even though this book is in no way related to finances or money, it will help you in those areas as well because there are many “unsafe” people who are out to take money from those who can’t spot the unsafe person who may be out to scam you.
This book will also help you improve your own “safe” factor in how you relate to those around you, the more safe you are as an individual, the more you will be drawn to other safe people and the easier you will recognize unsafe people, maybe even those in your life right now.
As you walk through life, keep your eyes open for safe people. They will become your greatest asset next to God.