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Risk and Relationship  

Risk and relationship. Not things people think about together too often, but there are a couple of aspects of risk and relationship I would like to address this month.

If you took a poll on the street, I’m guessing you would find more people say they want security from a relationship than risk. Makes sense and probably even resonates with you right now. What is important to consider is that like many seemingly opposite things, risk and security are related, kind of like two sides of the same coin. This is particularly true in relationships. In this article I am going to focus on emotional security though there are other types of security people seek in relationship (physical, financial, etc.).

What does emotional security in a relationship mean? It basically means feeling accepted and supported for who you are without fear your emotional experience will be questioned, belittled, or made fun of. It leads to the experience that you can express any feeling or experience you have and not fear that it will be rejected or you will be criticized for having it.

The kicker is that to reach the feeling of emotional security, you have to take some risk. You can’t have the feeling of security until you have opened yourself up to the rejection. Many people try to find ways to assure themselves they can feel the acceptance with no risk. It doesn’t work that way. You have to take a risk to create the experience of being accepted.

If you don’t experience the kind of emotional security you would like in your relationship, take some action to change that now. Share something that is a little scary to share.

Two caveats: sharing things that are critical of the person you are sharing them with are less likely to be accepted and supported than things that are personally revealing. I know, that seems obvious, but it still needs to be said. You shouldn’t lead with something critical, particularly if you are feeling shaky about security and trying to build it.

The other caveat is that acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean understanding. People are different and experience things differently, so your partner might not understand why a particular situation or experience leads to the feelings you have. Some people find that uncomfortable. What is really important is that your partner accepts the feelings you have, not that they understand why you have them.