It is easy to get confused about who is an intimate and who is not. Is a parent ALWAYS a person who can speak into our lives? Actually, no, they are not. How about a spouse? Nope. What about a best friend? Again, no. (Sometimes we are given the gift of answering one or more of these questions yes - but we cannot assume that this is true.)
A decent rule of thumb that helps us maintain safety in relationships, acknowledge boundaries and maintains a respectful distance from the living of life is this: realize that is it NOT our place to suggest/ask/tell people what to think, feel or do. That is an inside job - we are each responsible for our own thinking, feeling and doing.
Why is this important? Because when we over-step our influence, we create an unsafe relationship dynamic. Why does that matter? We don’t do our best listening, accepting and changing when safety is at risk.
Each of us defines relationship safety in different ways. It requires a lot of hard work to get to know other people’s safety parameters. But this is part of our work. We need to be part of a relational dynamic that values and works toward conversational safety. What helps us feel safe? Respect. Dignity. Humility. Curiosity. What hurts? Judgment. Condescension. Fighting dirty. Contempt.
Let’s give our relationships a chance to be as awesome and intimate and life-giving as they were intended to be by working toward mindful restraint when it comes to commenting on the life of others!