3 Ways To Create A Secure Bond (Even With Someone Whose Family Was Awful)

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Smiling couple in love outdoors

Building and maintaining healthy relationships involves more than shared experiences; it requires intentional effort to support and uplift those around you.

Therapist and YourTango Thought Leader Eli Harwood specializes in the art of connecting, healing, and hoping as an attachment expert.

Here's what she has to say about how you can make your relationships (and friendships) more secure, even if the person in question was raised in an insecure family environment.

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3 Ways To Create A Secure Bond With Someone

1. Celebrate their success.

The ability to rejoice in the success of others is a crucial element in any relationship. While experiencing pangs of jealousy is normal from time to time, it is essential to channel these emotions into something more positive.

According to author Shasta Nelson, experiencing emotions such as envy or jealousy is completely normal. These emotions should be felt and acknowledged.

Nelson explains further, “When our need for social connectedness is threatened can make us feel isolated. This emotional pain registers in our brains in the same way as physical pain. Feeling envy or jealousy could be your way of dealing with the pain.”

There are two different types of envy:

  • Applauding envy is your ability to believe in abundance.
  • Resenting envy is the mindset that others shouldn’t have something because we don’t have it.

Applauding envy would be knowing that your friend’s or partner’s success doesn’t prevent your own. Nelson explains it is essential to shift your perspective into applauding envy — away from resenting envy — and understand that more than two emotions can be felt at the same time.

You can wish you got to celebrate like your friend is, AND you can also hold space for them, show up, and be delighted in their joy.



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2. Create a safe haven.

Being a safe place for your partner or friends is important for fostering trust and connection. Offering an environment where your loved ones can express vulnerability without shame, is crucial to maintaining a healthy relationship.

Harwood advises us to, “Be a place where they can fall apart in tenderness without shame. Everybody needs a place to be seen, heard, and nurtured.”

According to Julie Bailey LCPC, starting with connecting with others through small talk, is a good start.

Additionally, asking others how they are, showing concern for them, keeping their private matters private, listening without always giving advice, and demonstrating compassion, are more ways in which you can create a safe haven for your relationships.

3. Lean on each other.

Mutual support and understanding in any relationship are a two-way street. If you find yourself constantly relying on another and not reciprocating, it may strain your relationship. The other person may end up feeling used and undervalued.

Leaning on one another during difficult times strengthens your bond, but it must be a give-and-take for your relationship to remain successful.

Additionally, practices such as communication about personal needs and difficulties foster an environment where both parties are valued and understood.

To cultivate healthy relationships, you must go beyond the basics.

Incorporating these tips into your relationships will not only strengthen your connections with your loved ones but deepen them as well.

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Marielisa Reyes is a writer with a bachelor's degree in psychology who covers self-help, relationships, career and family topics.