For most of us it involves having our basic physical needs met (shelter, access to food, physical safety).
Some of us would also think of our emotional safety, how safe and secure do we feel being our authentic self with others or within ourselves? How confident are we those who we consider our tribe will respect us, honor us, be considerate of us and include us, no matter what, whether they agree or approve of our opinions or actions or not, whether they are angry with us or not, and that we will do what is healthiest for us when they do not.
We often think safety is about what is going on outside of us…and this is true when it comes to physical safety in particular, but WE play a HUGE part in our EMOTIONAL SAFETY, that deep knowing that no matter what happens in the external world, we will be ok and that we will take care of ourselves the way a fierce mother bear protects her cubs.
Answer these 3 Questions to find out if you are keeping yourself emotionally safe…
1. Where is your sense of worth/ your sense of authority?
For people who feel emotionally safe, the answer is it rests within them.
They “know that they know” that they deserve to be treated with respect no matter what the situation, that they deserve to be healthy and safe no matter what is going on. This empowers them to set and follow through on healthy boundaries or walking away when people are making choices that have a negative impact on them. It also empowers people to focus on what the CAN DO in a situation, rather than what they cannot.
2. Who is responsible for keeping you safe?
Those people who feel emotionally safe know that the answer to this question is WE ARE. Think of a time there was something unpleasant that had to be done, like cleaning up dog poop or doing dishes, now imagine that there were some other people around who COULD possibly take responsibility for that- does this increase or decrease your motivation to do what you need to do? For most of us it reduces it.
That is exactly what happens here. When we think that someone else should be responsible for keeping us safe, even just a little bit, or alive or whatever the case may be, we give over responsibility to whoever we can to avoid doing the dirty work. Even just giving ourselves a possible way out of it, like “if it is too hard, I could always kill myself”, or “my parents/ spouse/ siblings etc will always be there to pick up the pieces” is a way we don’t fully accept responsibility for creating a life we are excited to live, we give ourselves a reason to not fully commit to doing the heavy lifting.
For many of us, that means that WE do not act in our own best interest because we get stuck thinking that our friend or spouse or parent should know better than to do something that hurts us, or we wait for our boss to appreciate us etc.
When we ACCEPT and EMBRACE that we are the only ones responsible for keeping us safe, we are far more motivated to do what is necessary to accomplish this. When we do this, we discover that when we start to worry about how others will react or what distressing external events will happen next, we feel better and secure in ourselves by reminding ourself that “I will do what is healthiest for me no matter what”.
3. How can I amplify/ build/ nourish my Strong and Healthy Self? (see the link to a previous blog that talked about the analogy of the Healthy Self)
Sometimes we know what needs to be done but we don’t feel ready to do the heavy lifting yet. That is ok. There is no sense beating ourselves for not being ready to take action, that just makes it harder to take action and after all, we go through the same stages to change any behaviour; WISH-> WANT-> COMMIT (see the link to a previous blog that talked about this) and the only way to move through these stages is to sit with the discomfort of not acting in our own best interest.
So when we know things need to change, but we aren’t sure how yet, or we know how they need to change but we just aren’t ready to do it, we treat it like we are training for the Olympics. We know we have a potentially life altering challenge and opportunity ahead, so we train for it…by INTENTIONALLY prioritizing time to do the things that will amplify or strengthen our strong self. This can be through doing things as basic as going to bed at a decent hour, eating healthy food, reaching out to a friend, consciously ignoring the negative dialogue in our head, or making time to exercise or meditate.
Whether we are on the verge of action or just starting to notice something is awry, amplifying our connection to our strong and healthy self is a great place to start.
As always, we would love to hear your feedback! Please leave us a question, comment or tweet! Or if there is a topic you would like us to cover, let us know. See you next week!