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Feeling Safe - everyone is different

Our earliest human instinct is survival. To survive we do all we can to feel safe. To feel safe we try to control as much of life as we can.

What happens when we feel we can’t control what’s happening?

Our conscious and subconscious fears around survival get triggered. Our stress responses start flaring up: Fight - Flight - Freeze

We amp up our “I have to do everything I can to feel safe” actions and reactions. That means something DIFFERENT for every person.

Try to stay in a space of non-judgement and kindness with everyone. Mask-wearing for example is causing a lot of divisive opinions right now. For one person wearing a mask feels like the safe thing to do. For another person it feels scary not to be able to lip read anymore, something they relied on for communication whether due to hearing loss or language difficulties. For another person it triggers emotional memories around traumatic experiences, or for another, breathing difficulties.

We all have to get through this time with our physical, mental and emotional health intact. This year has been hard on everyone. When you see someone who is making a different choice to you, or has a different opinion, take a moment to consider that they likely have a reason, a history or a belief that is driving their choice or opinion. Don’t make up a story about them and assume it to be true eg “They’re selfish” or “They’re asleep.” I’ve had to remind myself too, to adjust my lens, to zoom out, to see things differently if and when I’m feeling frustrated about something.

The truth is that most people want the same things. We just have different ways of getting there. Usually we don’t need everyone to go the way we choose to go but when core survival/safety buttons are being pushed we start to panic. Some feel safest with the herd, while others are screaming out “the wolf is coming, go this way, this way!” Lines are drawn. People feel they have to pick a side. But really, right now, we all need to be on the same side and that’s Team Humanity. That means supporting each other. Listening to each other.

We are all headed to the same place. Everyone is just going with the pathways that feel safest to them. The “divide and conquer” strategy is to make people feel that those on another pathway are making life less safe for everyone. This strategy pits us against each other, rather than encourages us to understand where other people are coming from.

Our true safety on a collective level lies in being united not divided. It lies in having understanding, kindness and compassion for each other not judgement or assumptions.

This week, if and when you feel triggered by a choice or opinion that’s different to yours, see if you can get to a place where you soften that, and acknowledge that the other person has a reason for thinking as they do - and that reason doesn’t have to feel threatening to your survival and safety.

(c) Dana Mrkich 2020


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(c) Dana Mrkich 2020


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