Creating Emotional Safety
At times, when our life is difficult, we can seek a place of emotional safety. When we find it, such a place can be comforting and can allow us to collect ourselves. However, there are times when we need a place of emotional safety but we can't find one. What can we do then?
Our needs for emotional safety
We all have different needs for different sorts of emotional safety. These different sorts of safety can be met by different sorts of environments. For some people, they like to be around other people. Noise and activity is something that reassures them and settles them. Other people find safety in places of quiet and tranquility. This allows them to pull themselves together and find their own centre. Whatever place of emotional safety you need for yourself, being able to find one is definitely a source of comfort.
However, sometimes we can't find a place of familiar safety. We might be far from home or trapped in circumstances that take us away from the environments we find supportive and comforting. We may have been in circumstances where we are unable to trust someone. This realisation in itself can be very unsettling, even frightening.
At these times we need to make our own place of safety, as best we can. This doesn't always occur to us. We're often used to thinking of places of safety is being familiar places, places that we live or have in our mind. However, when these places are unavailable, there may be things that we can do to create places of safety.
- The first step is to become aware of the types of places that make us feel safe. Are they crowded places? Quiet places? Places with a view, or confined places?
- Secondly, what's of people do we want around? Large crowds at we don't know? A small band of people that we like and are reassured by? Or just one special person? Or solitude? Perhaps even the presence of a close pet.
- Thirdly, how can we find those elements in our current surroundings? If you're at work, how can you get the elements that you need to create safety? Do you need to go and sit in the toilet for a while? Or an unused office or conference room? Do you need to go and talk to a trusted colleague or get on the phone to somebody?
- Fourthly, perhaps you need to even be more active than that. Perhaps need to put up a sign in your workspace saying that you can't be approached right now. If you are in public, perhaps you need to find a doorway that you can sit in for a while. Or a public library, or a cafe.
It's also important to realise that it will take time as well for emotional safety to come.
It's tempting to think that the familiar places of safety are best for us. On one hand, they have certainly got familiarity. However, creating places of emotional safety gives us a sense of power and agency that we might not otherwise get. Ultimately, our ability to create places of safety gives us more freedom to be in the world.
Please let me know what you think in the comments. Now, read about dealing with difficult people.
– Tim Hill