Safety, Dignity and Love

The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved. When you feel loved, when you feel safe, and when you know your dignity, you just keep growing! That’s what we do for one another as loving people—offer safe relationships in which we can change. This kind of love is far from sentimental; it has real power. In general, we need a judicious combination of safety and necessary conflict to keep moving forward in life.
– Richard Rohr


It’s bold to say “only,” don’t you think?

“The only people who change, who are transformed, are people who feel safe, who feel their dignity, and who feel loved.”

Yes, it’s bold. But, is it right? Is it true?

Ask yourself, when did you change – when were you transformed – when you felt threatened, worthless and hated?

You didn’t. You weren’t. Because all of your energy was focused on protection, defense and preservation of a status quo that made more sense than an even more uncertain future.

Leadership is best described as holding a vision for a better future and making it possible for others to work towards and fulfill that vision.

That is impossible to do without safety, dignity and love.

Leaders, your mission is clear: create safe environments; uphold the dignity of all people; and love, love, love like you’ve never loved before.


DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world. Connect with him on Twitter at @berrydavid.

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