Meeting Safety Needs

One of the most valuable life skills we can learn is how to
meet our safety needs. We are responsible for maintaining
the minimum balance in our safety accounts. When we learn to
meet our own safety needs, every area of our lives–including
our relationships–improves dramatically. Meeting our own
safety needs is relatively simple. Meeting other people’s
safety needs, however, is a bit more complicated.

MEETING OUR OWN SAFETY NEEDS

When we realize that we feel unsafe or that our
fight-or-flight response is active, the first thing we must
do is evaluate if we are actually in a dangerous or
threatening situation. If we feel unsafe walking through a
deserted parking lot in the middle of the night, we should
certainly honor that feeling and stay on our guard! When
used correctly, the fight-or-flight response is designed to
save our lives. We simply need to learn how to weed out the
false alarms. If we feel unsafe and there is no reasonable
threat to our life or limb, then our fight-or-flight
response was activated by our egos, and we can safely
disengage it.

The most common reason that we feel unsafe is that we are
projecting our attention into the future or the past. Our
power only exists in the present; when we worry about the
past or the future, we give away our power and feel unsafe.
The “Present Moment Safety Exercise” on the following page
can help to return our awareness to the present moment, and
bring the balance in our master safety account back to its
minimum level.

Often, in order to feel safe enough to even do this
exercise, we need to create some space. If we’re feeling
unsafe in a discussion or an argument, we may need to simply
walk away–to take a few moments to let our tempers cool.
Even though our partner in the discussion may not pose an
actual physical threat to us, if we’re experiencing boundary
violations in the discussion, we will need to reinforce our
boundaries and reclaim our space before we can address our
safety needs.

PRESENT MOMENT SAFETY EXERCISE

Stop whatever it is that you are doing and take a few deep,
cleansing breaths.

If possible, find somewhere to sit or lie down, and then let
yourself feel supported by the chair, floor, bed or sofa.

As you become aware of your body, and aware of your
breathing, feel your mind begin to quiet.

Gently release your attachments to any thoughts and simply
observe any activity of your mind.

Softly draw your awareness back to the present moment. The
more we worry about the past or the future, the more unsafe
we feel. The only place we have any power is in the present
moment.

Experience the truth that in the present moment you are
safe. The past has already happened, and the future does not
exist yet. Remember that we create our futures through our
choices.

Take a moment to feel the truth that in the present
moment–in this moment, and in every moment–you are
supported, safe and nurtured. Because you are an
individualized aspect of All That Is, your needs are
automatically met.

Let your awareness rest on your breath. Let your mind quiet.
And for a few moments, simply be. Simply experience what it
feels like to be completely safe, completely supported.

You can now consider your current situation from this place
of safety, support, and power. You can evaluate your options
objectively. You are free to make the most elegant choices
available to you. You choose, knowing that your choices
create your reality. You choose to experience the truth that
you are fully supported in this moment and in the next. And
these choices create a present and a future where your needs
continue to be met easily and effortlessly.

MEETING OTHER PEOPLE’S SAFETY NEEDS

Meeting other people’s safety needs is often a tricky
proposition. In our intimate relationships, it’s appropriate
for us to explore emotional connections with our partners.
We can look for ways to nurture and protect our partners,
and expect our partners to nurture and protect us. It’s
rarely appropriate to do this in professional or casual
relationships, however. Unless we share an intimate personal
connection with someone, it’s difficult to meet his or her
safety needs directly. The most we can do is to avoid making
them feel unsafe. We do this by respecting their boundaries.

Other people’s boundaries are not always easy to recognize,
however. Sometimes the only way we can recognize a boundary
is by inadvertently crossing it and making our partner feel
unsafe. Often, our partners didn’t even realize that they
had this particular boundary until we crossed it. Once we’ve
become aware of the boundary, however, we can own it. We can
step back, and take responsibility for crossing the
boundary. And we can choose to respect that boundary from
this point on. We are now both aware of this particular
boundary, but more importantly, we are both aware that the
boundary will be respected. The boundary is now stronger,
and our partner is now able to feel more safe. So how can
you tell if you’ve crossed a boundary that not even your
partner knew existed in the first place? Body language is
the best indication that you may have stepped over a line
and made someone feel unsafe. When we feel unsafe, we adjust
our bodies to protect ourselves. We may:

–Cross our arms in front of our chests.

–Lean forward and drop our heads (breaking eye contact).

–Round our shoulders (expressing the desire to curl up into
a ball to protect ourselves).

–Clench our teeth and tighten our jaw.

–Stop responding to our partner and disengage from the
conversation.

–Change our tone of voice and become more defensive.

–Raise our voices.

–Speak more emphatically.

If you notice any of these behaviors in your partner, you
have crossed a line and made your partner feel unsafe. And
if you notice any of these behaviors in yourself, then
you’re feeling unsafe because your partner has crossed one
of your boundaries.

In any event, whether you’re feeling unsafe or you’ve made
your partner feel unsafe, what you need to create is some
space to defuse the threat.

–If it’s possible and appropriate to move away from your
partner by taking a step back, or moving your chair.

–Change your body position so that you’re leaning away from
your partner.

–Take a few deep breaths, and return your awareness to the
present moment.

–Check your voice and body language. (The louder and more
rapidly we speak, the more aggressive we appear.)

–Slow down, and shift your body into a neutral and
receptive posture.

–Uncross your arms and leave the front of your body open
and unprotected. (This makes you vulnerable and demonstrates
that you are not a threat.)

If you’ve made someone feel unsafe through your choice of
words or subject matter, it’s important that you not pursue
that particular subject. If appropriate, you can acknowledge
that you may have inadvertently become too personal, and
apologize. Remember, when we recognize and take
responsibility for crossing a boundary, we make our partners
feel safe.

Creating a Gratitude Journal

Everyday there are things that happen to us, and for us, that make us grateful. Sometimes, we even find, that after the passage of time, we become grateful. Take time today, tomorrow, and the next

are grateful. Then write it down in your journal. Or maybe send a letter or a card, with dates and experiences to that person.

You can start keeping a journal where you date and write in daily, weekly, or monthly about what you are grateful for, why and the circumstances that created the gratitude. This becomes a story and record of your feelings and warm experiences of what you have given, and also what you have received.

You can also create individual gratitude journals for your spouse, your children, parents, a friend, etc., that you journal in for a period of time. You can write about them sharing what you are grateful for about them. et a new journal to use for this purpose only. Pick a colored pen or several colors. You can express your feelings with certain colors, green for a growth memory, blue for peaceful times, you decide what each color means and note that in the front of the journal. Date each entry and describe events, memories, or thoughts that you have about that person. Describe what they have given you, what you have observed, what you wish for them. Tell them about how grateful you are for them in your life, and why. This becomes a treasured keepsake and a priceless gift.

Telling someone you are grateful for them in your life, for what they have done, for who they are is a very powerful expression of caring and love. Telling a stranger who has given you something, directions, good service, a smile, that you are grateful for what they have done and given you is another form of connection. Spread the idea of gratitude. You may see something on TV or read about someone. Send them an email or letter of appreciation for who they are, what they stand for, or for what they have done.

Today I am grateful for ___________________ fill-in this blank with what your are grateful for.

For Example – My self, my children, family, work, future, my recovery, etc.

As I was thinking about what I am grateful for, I of course thought of my many wonderful, dear friends. So, I decided to email and ask what they were grateful for. I asked them if I could also share their responses with you, and here they are…

“Today I am grateful that I get to spend time with my children.”

“Today I am thankful for a generous heart that loves to spill over to others…and is constantly replenished by my beautiful family.”

“Today I am Grateful for the joy of friends. Today I am grateful for the light in the eyes of my friends. Today I am grateful for the roses in my garden. I am so very grateful I met you.”

“Today I am grateful that I can continually forgive myself. I can forgive myself for judging myself harshly when things don’t turn out just the way I was attached to them turning out. I can forgive myself when I am disappointed that I didn’t speak up and say exactly how I felt about a situation. I can forgive myself because when I did speak up, it didn’t come out of my mouth the way my mind thought it would. All in all, I am very grateful that I am me. I wouldn’t want to be anyone else in the whole world….and that’s gratitude!”

“Today I am grateful for a wife, 4 children and a daughter-in-law who are all working hard to find out what it is their Savior would have them do in life and then do it.”

“Today I am grateful for another experience of realizing that I am, indeed, safe and provided for.”

“I am grateful for days, like today, when my gratitude gallops gleefully ahead of me and I have to skip to keep up with it, instead of haul it behind me like a wagon load of manure, hoping it will carry its own weight -by tomorrow.”

“I am very grateful for the healing work that I do. I work long, hard hours, but I really enjoy helping people feel better. How many people can say that they love their work or feel that they are doing exactly what they are supposed to be doing?”

“Today, I am grateful for a Loving God who nutures me. I am grateful for my 89 year old Mother who has cared for me and is still vibrant, helpful, and alive. I am grateful for my Granddaughter Hayley who holds my hand, trusts me, and I know loves me somewhere in her very special heart. I am grateful for good health which sustains me. I am grateful for my friends and acquaintances who care about me and bring so much joy into my life. And, finally, I am grateful for libraries, and the internet, and transportation which constantly open new vistas in my horizon and let me apreciate this vast world and its infinite knowledge and power available to all those who are curious enough and ambitious enough to embrace them.”

“Today I am grateful for gentle friends, and a loving Heavenly Father.”

“I am grateful for the Divine Connections in my life – My family and friends. We laugh and cry together. With them I feel I belong and am loved. They are my greatest teachers. We validate each other. When depleted I seek them out. They renew my spirit I am blessed. I am also grateful for the roadblocks and failures in my life. They turned out to be valuable lessons that led me to new opportunities and connections I wouldn’t have had otherwise. They presented new Lifepaths.”

“Today I am grateful for all the wonderful people in my life who challenge me to think differently.”

“The scent of freshly cut grass coming through my open windows.”

“Today I am grateful for opening my eyes to see my husband on my side and my pug at my feet. I am grateful to look out my bedroom windows to see another day full of possibility as the sun slowly warms up my sweet backyard alive with quail, doves, hummingbirds, rabbits and all kinds of natures noises. I am grateful to feel my breath as it wanders through my body waking me up. I am grateful that I have one more day to enjoy, and be amazed, and be involved with life. And I am very grateful that I can go through another day full of awe and gratitude.”

“Today, I am grateful for my life, health, and for my mother still being alive.”

“I’m grateful for the support of many, many wonderful women in the community.”

“I am grateful for being able to carry the message that Light and Love is always present and everlasting. I get to do this on a moment to moment daily basis. I am grateful for all the loving people that I am blessed with in my life. I am grateful that the universe provides completely and abundantly. I am grateful to be alive and living full out.”