THE JRNY 008: Making People Feel Safer

Hey Reader 👋,

Today's song of the moment is: Future - Red Velvet

This song is part of the Start-Up OST. Start-Up is a kdrama about well.. a start-up haha. I finished it in December 2020 and, to this day, I still think the OST is one of the best ones out there so go check it out (or watch the drama, Top 4 imo)

Fun fact: I wake up every day to this song because it's my work alarm. On the weekend, I wake up to Running - Gaho, another song from the Start-Up OST.


This is a follow-up to Ava's essay on feeling safe.

In her essay, Ava explains that "One of the most important things I’ve learned is that I want to be around people who make me feel psychologically safe".

Her whole essay really struck a cord with me, but especially the part where she explains a few things that makes her feel safe in friendships and relationships:

Consistency: the person is around and dependable. Their feelings are the same day after day and the way they act towards you is reliable. There are no sudden disappearances or long periods of unavailability.

Tact: the person is direct with you, but they’re also not an asshole who uses “honesty” as an excuse to be mean. They care about how you feel.

Lack of fear: you don’t feel like you’ll be punished the moment you do something wrong. You won’t be laughed at or berated if you experiment with something new.

Warmth: you feel loved and held. You feel like they’re interested in what’s going on with your life and hearing about your feelings and problems. They’re happy when you succeed and supportive when you’re struggling.

I feel like she was able to pinpoint exactly what I've been lacking in a lot of my friendships over the years. I remember growing up watching YouTube channels such as the whole JustKidding (Bart Kwan, Geo Antoinette, Joe Jitsukawa, etc.) or friendships like Tim Chantarangsu (formerly known as TimothyDeLaGhetto) & Ricky Suck's and I've always told myself that I wanted THAT. I never knew what THAT was or how to define it, but Ava's 4 things comes pretty close to how I view JK's and Tim's relationships.

It's that feeling of an unconditional friendship, which allows you to make mistakes, truly speak your mind and grow as an individual without feeling like the friendship is at stake when we do so.

That was the first thought I had. It was that "I want more of those types of relationships in my life."

The immediate second thought I had was "Why don't I currently have those types of relationships in my life?"

And the answer came down to a 2 letter word: Me.

Growing up, I've always been a pretty judgmental type of person. I always thought that the way I viewed life was the "correct way" and that everyone who thought the opposite of me were wrong. Throughout high school, this way of thinking didn't affect me that much because I honestly didn't have an opinion on many things in life. The few things I thought were "incorrect" were drugs, bullies and crime. This meant that the only people I would truly judge would be people that did one of those 3 things. Other than those 3 things, I was pretty open to conversation because I didn't know any better. Consequently, I was pretty popular as a "confidant" in those days because people could just tell me about their problems - whatever those were - and I'd simply reply with empathy and understanding.

However, as I grew older, things seemed to become more black & white for some reason. I started become less lenient towards certain behaviors. Attending school was good, not attending school was bad. Having good grades was good, having bad grades was bad. Dating around was bad, committing to one person was good (which is why I hated myself for a long time - I didn't do that LOL). Striving for a successful life was good, wanting a "normal life" was bad. Minding your own business was good, any type of gossiping was bad. Non-cheaters were good, cheaters were bad. Open-minded people are good, close-minded people are bad. Okay, I can go on and on, but I think you get the gist of it. I had certain behaviors that I deemed good and if someone diverted from those behaviors, I'd label them as "bad people" in my head and judge them for it. That's the worse, I didn't label the behavior as bad, I labeled the people as bad.

Unsurprisingly, my circle of friends lessened significantly and the number of people who confined in me became close to 0. As my current girlfriend would put it "I had a huge stick up my ass".

Thankfully, my girlfriend and other people in my life helped me realize that life is most often gray instead of black or white. One action isn't necessarily good or bad, it usually has to do with context. And most importantly, one person doing a "bad action" doesn't make them bad, they just did something bad.

Another thing that helped with the change in behavior was that I realized that I would have never become friends with myself. I was yearning for a safe space, but wasn't providing one for anyone - including myself.

With that said, I still have some reservations about certain behaviors and have a long way to go, but I think I am much more open-minded now than I was in my unapproachable days.

Hopefully, as I continue to make a conscious effort of becoming less judgmental and creating a safer space for people around me, I will one day reach a point where I also have a safe space to call my own.

PEACE.


Hey you ! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post.

If you like something in the article or simply want to discuss with me or give me some constructive feedback, feel free to email me @ onlythetruenjhs@gmail.com

We'll talk more next time and until then, don't forget to enjoy your life! ✌️

— Nicholas