I originally posted this article in 2017. Today, more than ever, we need to engage in difficult dialogue in safe ways. So I am revising and reposting my article for today’s challenges.
Is it reasonable to want a safe environment in which to live and work? Of course! Emotional, psychological, and physical safety are necessary if we want people to trust us, give their best and be transparent with us.
Don’t confuse safety with comfort, though. Safety isn’t always easy, especially during conflict.
It’s possible for me to be angry without threatening you.
I can disagree with you without undermining your dignity.
I can ask more of you without undermining your capability.
People can enforce boundaries without compromising safety.
When I disclose my pain you don’t have to take it on.
You can’t export your feelings to me. Neither can I export mine to you.
My feelings and behaviors and values are 100% my responsibility.