Such connections are possible when you feel safe, safe to be yourself, safe in your relationship with the world. Perhaps in the past you have used criticism and judgement as a way of creating a space in which you could feel safe. Your judgement would push others away and gave you a territory of rightness you could claim as your own. Continue to practise and develop the skill of non-judgement, for it is a skill that opens the door to unconditional love.
It is unconditional love that creates true safety for you. Remember to include yourself. When you do this you create a new kind of safe space, for you give permission to yourself to be in the world as you are. The need for protection goes. You do not need to justify yourself. You recognise the Divine within yourself and all others.