In Praise of Safety


Social media abounds with images of softly lit, sunrise horizons with the words "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone" emblazoned across the sky. Or perhaps it's a mountain peak behind text that says "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for."

I believe life begins inside of our comfort zones and only when we feel safe enough to stretch out does life (and our comfort zone) expand.

I am simply a huge fan of everyone feeling safe and I think safety has become linked up with weakness.

In contrast, I have seen how safety allows us to blossom. I believe that feeling safe is a prerequisite for connection, learning, relationship, growth, and for feeding our hungers. The only time I have ever been able to heal or grow is when I first felt safe. The only times I’ve been able to hear my own hungers calling for me is when I created a safe space for them. The only times when I’ve been able to ask another to feed me is when I feel safe with them.

It’s true that we often want or need to do things that aren’t safe or don’t feel safe. Taking the stage. Quitting the job. Asking someone out on a date. Trying something new and unknown. It’s my experience though, that we have to feel a level of safety first. It’s also my experience that many of us tolerate lives, situations, and relationships in which we are not safe to be who we are, want what we want, and say what we think and feel. This needs to change.

Needing safety does not a weak person make. It’s okay to value safety. In fact, it's imperative. It’s okay to ask someone to create a safer space for you. It’s okay to remove yourself when you don’t feel safe. When we feel safe enough, we can sail away from the harbor.

I'll leave you with a few questions for us to ponder:

Where in my life don’t I feel safe?

What factors create a sense of safety for me?

What would change if I felt a greater level of safety to be who I am, want what I want, and say what I think and feel?

Who don’t I feel safe around?

Who could I offer more safety to?

How could I offer myself more safety from which I could try new things?

Where am I pushing myself too far outside of my safety zone?

May we all be safe.