Are you an emotionally safe person?*
A self-assessment for personal reflection
Emotional Safety Self-Assessment
1. Do I admit to having some weaknesses? YES NO
2. Would others say that I am humble? YES NO
3. Am I defensive when others tell me that I have hurt or offended them? YES NO
4. Do I show that I am trustworthy over time? YES NO
5. Do I apologize, but fail to change my behavior? YES NO
6. Do I admit it when I have problems? YES NO
7. Do I confess when I wrong someone else (e.g. own up to it?) YES NO
8. Do I treat others with a lack of empathy? YES NO
9. Do I take responsibility for my own life? YES NO
10. Do I blame other people for my problems? YES NO
1. Score 1 point for "No" 6. Score 1 point for “No”
2. Score 1 point for "No" 7. Score 1 point for “No”
3. Score 1 point for "Yes" 8. Score 1 point for “Yes”
4. Score 1 point for "No" 9. Score 1 point for “No”
5. Score 1 point for "Yes" 10. Score 1 point for “Yes”
*Adapted by Dr. Shauna Springer, with permission, from material developed by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend, as described in their book Safe People (1996: Zondervan Press). For further information on these concepts, click here: www.cloudtownsend.com.
Your Score: Food for thought…
2 points or less: Points indicate issues you may need to address in your way of relating to others. So, based on a score of 2 or less, you see yourself as an emotionally safe person. If this is true, then you will generally have long-term, healthy close relationships in your life with several other people. If true, you should also have good potential to form a solid, lasting marriage, as long as you are able to recognize these same qualities in someone you might choose to partner with for life. If you scored points on any questions, especially if your relationship history is more rocky, than stable and healthy, note these areas as possible targets for further growth.
Between 3-5 points: A score between 3-5 points should stimulate some pointed self-reflection on how you relate to others. In terms of love relationships, there is a “rule of mental health” which suggests that we tend to pair up with others of the same level of mental health (although this may present in very different forms). As such, it may be wise for you to use this set of questions to evaluate who may be a safe person in your life. Once you have identified someone you have known for several years who would score very low on this set of questions, you may want to privately ask for this person’s feedback on how you relate to others. Character is not entirely fixed, and can be shaped by an accumulation of small decisions. Deciding that change is important and committing to working on areas where you scored points can result in positive growth over time. If you are not currently in a romantic relationship, it may be wise to actively work on areas for growth before seeking to couple up.
More than 5 points: You are to be commended for taking a hard look at how you relate to others. You have identified several areas for growth. If your perception is accurate, you may have a history of cut-off or strained relationships in multiple domains of your life. You may have difficulties retaining friends and romantic partners. If your goal is to enjoy a satisfying, stable long-term love relationship, it will be critical for you to work on making some changes. There is potential for growth in character with committed effort over time. Benjamin Franklin, a known genius and globally well regarded human being, for example, actively monitored and worked on developing certain character traits such as fairness (treating others the way he wanted to be treated) and humility (keeping his ego in check). He set a goal to work on 1 of 13 specific character traits and worked in this manner, rotating through each trait weekly, for over 50 years. If you are not currently in a committed relationship, it may be wise to work on your identified areas for growth, with the support of other safe people (including, potentially, a professional counselor) before seeking to form a romantic attachment.