Thursday, March 2, 2017

What Does 'Safe Place' Mean to You?

When you have had terrifying life experiences or live with trust issues, a safe space holds a very different meaning than it does for someone who has felt safe during their lifetime.

Most people probably have felt safe at some point during their lifetime. I know I always felt safe when I was growing up. I felt safe in my home and at my grandparents' house. I felt safe at school and in church. I don't really remember a time of not feeling safe when I was growing up. Not everyone can say that.

Can y'all even imagine children who do not feel safe. Who probably only escape from fear when they are so exhausted from being awake that they fall asleep and hope to enjoy the dreams of childhood but who may not even find an escape through their exhausted sleep? Where is their safe place? In my book, a child is a child and no matter what is terrifying those children, it needs to stop.

There aren't that many times I've felt safe in the last 30+ years. I won't go into details but I do know what it's like to not feel safe. Certainly not to the extreme that others have felt unsafe, but I am not unfamiliar with the feeling. And I can't imagine how those who live in constant fear on a daily basis must feel. Where is their safe place?

The good news for me is I have learned to provide for my own safety. I do what I need to do to feel safe. There are some who can't do that for themselves. Some who are so battered, terrified, weak, or too little just can. not. protect. themselves.

I am a member of a group on FB that offers a safe place for others to speak their minds and share their stories without being judged. Whether or not someone shares their beliefs or fears matters not. What matters is, people can tell their stories without fear of retribution. What they usually get in return is encouragement and support. Which is the way I think it should work.

Some of us probably take the feeling of safety for granted, assuming that everyone is safe. But, when you no longer have a safe place, it suddenly becomes quite valuable. This, I feel, needs to be on the minds of us all when we speak against gender, race, religion, and the like without knowing, firsthand, a single darn thing about any of it. I know that negativity breeds negativity. Once it's started, it's quite difficult to turn it around.

I'm not saying people shouldn't have opinions. I'm not saying people don't have a right to their opinions. What I'm saying is, let's make our opinions educated ones. And, when spouting those opinions, let's choose our words carefully. Let's use some empathy. Some compassion. Let's stop judging. Let's stop generalizing. Seriously y'all, how can someone judge another person, race, whatever, without knowledge of what those people are like? How is it fair to lump all of a race or gender into one category thinking we know how ALL of them are because of this one or this handful? I will NEVER UNDERSTAND this type of behavior. Never. I am a woman but what I believe/feel/enjoy/appreciate/fear/whatever is not the same for every single other woman in the world. Guess what? That's ok. What's not ok is lumping me into a category and thinking I share all thoughts/beliefs/actions of my race, gender, political/religious beliefs, etc.

So, safe places. It seems these are getting harder and harder to find these days what with all the judging and arguing and name calling and generalizing and spewing forth of uneducated opinions that happen every day from personal levels to the world stage.

If you've enjoyed the comfort of feeling safe your entire life, I think that's wonderful! But please don't assume everyone else in the world experiences this same feeling of being safe from harm whether it's a teenager who is cyber bullied, a child who is bullied at school or in the neighborhood, a monster sneaking into a child's room at night, a woman lying on the floor after a beating from someone she thought would love her, a man who is beaten because of his gender identity or color of his skin, women who are raped and beaten because they are women, children who endure verbal abuse, a child who has never known a hug can be a good thing, someone who suffers from anxiety and are laughed at because of it, people who suffer silently...the list is endless.

There are human beings in the world whose homes are not safe places. Their streets are not safe places. Their schools are not safe places. Their churches are not safe places. Why? Because there are those who do not respect other human beings much less what should be safely assumed to be safe places.

Ok, y'all. I'm stepping down off my soapbox now. Tell me what y'all think about all this. Empty Nest is a safe place. :)

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  1. My husband grew up in an abusive home and the scars that it has left on him is sometimes unbearable. He still has nightmares sometimes and he's 49. There are way to many judges in this world.

    1. I'm so sorry he had to endure that. No one should ever have to go through any form of abuse as far as I'm concerned. You're right, there are way too many judges in the world.

  2. I think you said it pretty well. Thank you for sharing your feelings.

  3. Very well written. This lumping of many people into one group is a common thing but as you said it doesn't work. I couldn't help but to think of war refugees while I was reading this. Of course you don't need a war to find abuse and very unsafe places.

    1. Thank you. The thing that's driving me crazy right now are those who are speaking out against the importance of having a safe space. I guess it's hard to realize the importance if they've never felt unsafe. Otherwise, they're just being assholes. Which could very well be the case.

  4. Very insightful and well written. I am glad you could write this out. Hard subject. I will have to think about it. I love that you always are able to make me think of things I hadn't ever considered. I will tell you this, growing up the way I did in the situations I did, I don't even know if "safe" was something I would have even thought about. That is why today I can still run fast. Knowing that telling anything would have been the end of my life, being quiet becomes the safest place of all. Know what I mean?

    1. It is a hard subject, for sure. Oh gosh, I never thought about being quiet being the safe place. Now you've given me something to think about. :) Thanks, Kim!

  5. I appreciate your perspective here, and am grateful for God who is our refuge and strength!

  6. Great post and I agree with the words you said.


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