Recognizing and choosing to do something about our own safety has been a brilliant milestone in our collective evolution in the last few years. That said, experiencing and expressing “I don’t feel safe with you” seems to have suddenly become a trend.
While there are way too many real and true and valid reasons humans can say “I do not feel safe with you” on the planet right now, for most who are saying it (at least within the communities I belong to), we are actually not speaking of real-time safety issues but of backed-up trauma and somatic memory that is preventing us from feeling safe in mostly safe environments*.
How much can we be responsible for each other’s safety and how much are we responsible for our own safety?
How do we move the tender and disruptive patterns of connection-crushing feelings of fear so our inherent desire to relate can be given and received?
I am not going to offer pat solutions to this tender uprising among us, it’s real and it’s important, but I do offer a challenge and opportunity for inquiry. Our own sense of safety, or lack thereof, can be worked with–and through this, the potential for growth of resiliency over fragility arises.
When someone says “I don’t feel safe with you.”--conversation OVER.
What can one say to this? We now have a double trauma field in action as hearing that you are impacting someone’s sense of safety in a negative way is fairly likely to evoke feelings of helplessness/fear/guilt/outrage as the accused–this is certainly an effective way to ask a person to step up to the representation of the opposite of safe–which is dangerous.
Is it possible that sometimes the unsafe warning signal you are experiencing has been scrambled in translation and is actually the warning signal around our chronic disconnection?
What if the message is actually –“I do not feel connected to you.” Naming, and working from disconnection towards connection might be a more beneficial trend than naming and getting stuck in our feelings of lack of safety–even if this is a real and true experience we are having–the remedy is connection.
DISCONNECTION–to each other, to our Earth, to our natural environment and other living beings that surround us–is literally killing us AND there is a way to resist this; “I do not feel connected to you.” does not shut down the potential for an exchange, it opens it.
“I do not feel connected to you” can begin a conversation, can create an opening for the very thing we need: CONNECTION. And if being with, then moving through, our sense of lack of safety is possible, this feels like worthy work–especially in environments where what feels like “safety” is being misinterpreted and a course correction can create more of what we truly want.
In recent groups, we have been diving into this with heartwarming results. If we recognize this safety-related fear as disconnect and move towards feeling the sensation of it in the body-mind before we run away or shut it down, we often find out we can recognize the unsafe feeling as a memory, separate it from present reality, give it a moment just as it is, and re-evaluate for actual safety. A common outcome of this practice is to discover that all is well in this present moment. This is not bypass, it is recognition AND choice in action...this has its place alongside dissent, consent and all the ways we long to create new levels of trust between each other.
Remembering that what we practice grows stronger, sometimes the ground of feeling unsafe may need our attention, but it may also need our presence and discernment. Sometimes it is useful to take a deeper look at our feelings and differentiate between the complex layers that create feelings; memory, inheritance, habit and personal storylines and then make a conscious choice about where to land.
Let’s make “I am committed to feeling safe and connected to you.” the new trend.
*PLEASE NOTE: I am not promoting that anyone stay in an unsafe situation. Ever. I am not promoting the ignorance of intuition or perception or reality. I am promoting discernment. If you are not safe, then do what you need to get safe. This inquiry and this exercise, is to suggest that many of us can find “slack” in our safety system, a place where we can find, re-engage, and expand on our own safety. This benefits you, it benefits your community, it benefits a world starving for BOTH connection AND safety.