SheLoves Guidelines for Safe and Brave Conversations

Our SheLoves guidelines for Safe and Brave Conversations:

At SheLoves, process has always mattered. One of our core values is the Nguni concept of “Ubuntu,” which means we belong to each other, our humanity is connected to each other. Our freedom is connected to the freedom of others.

As we gather here, we want to create both a safe and a brave space for our conversation. Safe, so we can be vulnerable. Brave, because sometimes part of liberation is sitting with discomfort.

So, as we connect with each, we ask that you come with respect, Love and the admonishment from 1 Peter 2:17 to honor everyone.

Let’s listen with compassion and curiosity.

We will not allow violence here in any form.

While we are openly inviting your questions, the speaker reserves the right to say no at any point. Be mindful of how that no may sit with you. It would not be a rejection of you, but simply a boundary to protect the heart and spirit of our speaker.

Let’s speak from our own experience by using “I statements.”

Let’s own our intentions and take responsibility for the effects of our words.

Let’s work to recognize our privileges

Let’s use this space to recognize and investigate your privilege. Honor the different experiences we all bring to this space.

Lean into discomfort. We are all in process. Challenge yourself to contribute even if it is not perfectly formulated.

Step back. Share speaking time and try to speak after others who have not spoken.

Notice and name group dynamics in the moment. We are all responsible for this space. Be aware of how others are responding or not responding. Take time out if needed.

Let’s listen actively. Listen to what is said before thinking about how to respond. Notice when defensiveness and denial arise.

Challenge with care. Find ways to respectfully challenge others and be open to challenges of your own views. Think about how to question ideas without personal attacks.

Ask for clarification if needed.

Parker J. Palmer said: “The human soul doesn’t want to be advised or fixed or saved. It simply wants to be witnessed—to be seen, heard and companioned exactly as it is.”

( These guidelines were created with deep gratitude, drawing on the work of Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens in their document: From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces.)