Safety In Your Body

Jan 27, 2023

“Safe” is defined in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary as “secure from threat of danger, harm or loss.” What safety looks like to everyone may be different depending on your lived experiences. If you want to even take it deeper (and y'all know I always do) your ability to feel safe can even be determined by your ancestral experiences and the way that your brain interprets information that it has heard about or perceived. 

When we talk about safety we are not just talking about physical safety - the real or imagined threat of something happening to our bodies. We are also talking about emotional safety. Some questions that come up when we think about emotional safety may be: 

  • “Can I be vulnerable with you?” 
  • “Can I trust you to not hurt me?
  • “What will you do when I tell you how I feel?”

Physical and emotional safety is THE foundation of our emotional wellbeing. And YET, we leave the task of creating that sense of safety up to other people. While it is true that others can support in the creation of a safe environment for us, really the job of safety starts with us and begins with our ability to believe that we can care for ourselves. 

There will always be circumstances where you can, rightfully, anticipate there to be some emotional harm. Feelings get hurt every day, perspectives are consistently challenged, needs will go unmet. So it’s not that these things HAPPEN or even the feelings that we have a result of them happening that determines our safety. It is what we are able to do to take care of ourselves WHEN they happen. 

How does your heart recover? How do you hold space for the thoughts in your head? How do you move forward? Do you know when to remain in a relationship or WHY you may want to?

Most of us have never been taught to honor when we feel unsafe, much less what to do about it when we do.  

The threat that shows up isn’t the "thing" that occurs. The threat is the hurt in the body, the behavior that you choose and the consequences that can come from the behavior. Safety comes from your capacity to take care of yourself through the difficult moments and still be in alignment with your truest version of yourself in every moment.

Safety will always come from having the right tools for you and being able to understand yourself so deeply that you know when and how to use them. 

Here are 5 easy steps to help you return to safety:

  • Mindfulness - when you take the time to learn yourself, who you are, how your body feels when you feel safe, it becomes easier to identify moments when you do not feel safe. Knowing when your body feels triggered will help you begin to assess situations to determine if you need to begin to develop a course of action inorder to return to safety. 
  • Breathe - deep breaths help the nervous system remain calm. While stress and anxiety can be used in healthy ways, MOST of the time we do not need this and in fact it can create an overreaction that has negative consequences. 
  • Assess - the situation, get curious about your perspective, who is present, your beliefs and knowledge about their intentions and listen to what the body is saying that it wants to do. 
  • Time out - most situations do not require an immediate solution. The goal is to always move away from reactivity and to move toward responsiveness. Thoughtful responses may take time (especially in the beginning) so separating from the stimuli in the moment may be best to help you get calm so that you can choose what to do. 
  • Restore - how to do you recover when you know you have felt unsafe? Many of us distract or push through. However, it is best to figure about what you need to do to come back to a feeling of safety. There are many things that you may do that support you, breathing, music and a nap are 3 things that I do that help me often..

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