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The most meaningful relationships we have tend to be with those who offer us emotional safety. Find out how security and trust can deepen your connections.

This post was originally published here.

What makes a relationship great, whether it’s with a manager, mentor, spouse, sibling, friend, or parent? I tried digging into my own database of relationships to identify which characteristics have brought a smile to my face, made me thrive, reach my personal best and inspired me to go deeper in that relationship. One theme emerged consistently: the power of emotional safety.

What is emotional safety?

I define an emotionally safe place as one where you know you are accepted for who you are and can express yourself without fear of judgment despite the differences that may exist. A relationship in which you can be vulnerable and go beneath the surface and know that you aren’t alone in your fears and pain. A relationship where you don’t always have to look perfect or prove that everything is always okay.

As I think of what I want to give the people who matter, providing an emotionally safe space is really important (even though I don’t always succeed). Creating a circle of people where I can experience this emotional safety is even more important.

As Brene Brown has taught me, “You can only give what you have.”

Here are a few conversations and relationships that come to mind where I have felt very emotionally safe:

What does emotional safety mean to you? What relationships make you feel emotionally secure and safe? How can you create a place of safety for others?