Throughout our life we are faced with multitudes of experience begging the questions “Am I safe?” and “Can I trust my world?”
The injustices, disrespect, piercing, hurtful words, bullying and a variety of pressures that “cross our comfort zones” are pretty common events. How do we protect ourselves? How do we live with an open heart and free if we don’t feel safe? The answer depends on a few core beliefs:
1. What does it mean to feel and be safe?
2. Am I victim or creator of my life?
3. Am I disempowering myself? Am I taking responsibility for my needs? Do I have boundaries and listen to them?
4. Are you willing to ask for help if you don’t have the tools to create safety?
The first question is “What does it mean to feel and be safe?”
At my recent meditation class I asked this question of participants. “Feeling warm, protected, being held closely by a loved one, a hot bath, free from harm.” These were common replies.
From my point of view, we are often seeking another to keep us safe. As children, we expect no less from our parents and loved ones. Unfortunately that is not always the case. As a matter of fact, I am told many stories of those closest to us perpetrating and abusing healthy boundaries in a variety of ways including physical, emotional, psychological & verbally. As babies and young children we do not have the capacity to say “Hey! Stop doing that! Don’t speak to me that way!” Nor do we possess the ability to specifically describe how we’d like to be treated or spoken to. And even if you did, would they respond favorably by honoring your requests?
As a very young child and into my early 40s, the concept of boundaries was not part of my vocabulary. When I became aware of my beliefs around boundaries, I discovered at the core was the idea that having boundaries was bad.
In my world, boundaries meant that I was closed and not loving. At my 2-year birthday party, I had a puppet show. Being the birthday girl, I had the honor of sitting backstage with the puppet master. I sat on his lap while he did his magic and then some.
As a conscious adult, I went back to meditate on my experience to discover what core beliefs got established. I saw that though I had no judgment of my experience being good or bad, I did have the perception that someone did what he wanted to do with me while I had no awareness of how to communicate. I wasn’t able to tell my Mom or Dad. I learned this is just how to be. No boundaries.
As I reviewed my life, I saw a repeated pattern in my interactions with family, friends, etc. I allowed others to come into my world with open arms and “heart” because I was being a good, loving girl.
Times and my awareness have changed. Through the years of becoming conscious of engrained distorted belief systems, identities based on the perspective of living as a victim, I see I have a choice to live as a creator of my life. I am taking back my power by caring for myself. If I need help, I know who to ask.
The experience of feeling safe is one that I create by listening to my body wisdom and trusting what feels good to me. If something does not feel right, it is up to me to communicate my feelings of what would feel better or more desirable. I say “yes” when I want to say yes, and “no” when I want to say no. If the person with whom I am having a dissatisfying experience is unwilling to hear me, I choose to leave. If this person is close to me, I make the determination whether or not I want to work on the relationship.
My process always begins with an introspective exploration. I need to do the work on myself first. The world is a mirror. If I have gone inside and remain unclear, I possess a support network of clear neutral guides to whom I can turn for clarity. The challenge in asking another for guidance is the majority of the population has some level of distortions rendering them unreliable. Meaning, most people have not done in-depth introspective inquires to see their distorted beliefs and motivations of behavior. When you need clarity of mind, seek out the wisest person you can find. Your inner wisdom will guide you.
My safety and trust in life are ultimately my responsibility.
I can create a warm nurturing environment in my heart by listening, paying attention, respecting and honoring my needs/desires through active self care, compassion and communication. The only reasons for not communicating are fear based. If I speak what I want, they may leave. They may not like me. Well, if I don’t speak, I am ultimately disrespecting and dishonoring my truth. And they will also do the same. If I do speak and they leave or don’t like me, I wouldn’t want them around me anyway. What a great way to weed out those who are truly not right for me! In doing this, I am creating greater safety and opening a doorway so trustworthy people can enter my life.
How will you create safety and trust in your life?
Editor: Kate Bartolotta