It is possible to feel safe in this unsafe world of ours. Feeling safe often means we feel we are whole. On the flip side, Feeling unsafe often comes from the perception that our general wellbeing is challenged or compromised.
When we get into a fix, whether it’s someone attacking our morality, questioning our integrity in a relevant situation or downright threatening us, it is important to recognize that we can do things to regain a sense of control over our lives.
Most often, all we can do is stabilize ourselves in spite of what is shaking us up and move forward with a clear head.
Why we sometimes feel unsafe
Feeling unsafe isn’t something that just happens. We often feel unsafe because of so many years of suppressed feelings that accumulate into feeling unsafe, bitter and angry even though we may not express all of it until the bubble bursts or eats us up.
How our human nature makes us feel unsafe
We are wired in a way that recognizes very few options in a given situation. Given an experience, we may either fight or take flight. Sometimes, we simply shut down. This could occur because we are unfamiliar with a place, person or even a life situation like getting into marriage. These are situations which cause us to feel certain fear, therefore, the feeling of unsafety. These have deep roots in what we think of the unknown which requires some form of courage to face.
So anytime you get bullied, criticized or even physically attacked, you may not be in a position to defend yourself. This moment of uncertainty may cause fear and the feeling of unsafety which takes roots in the fight, flight or shutdown phenomenon. At that stage, you feel unsafe because you begin to question your general wellbeing. You begin to feel a compromise to your beliefs, physiology or even your dignity, especially in the case of criticism.
Situations that trigger the feeling of unsafety
What are the Triggers?
According to KidPower Triggers are thoughts, words, gestures, or actions that cause someone to explode with feelings. When our minds and bodies are exploding with feelings, it is hard to think clearly and hard to make wise choices.
1. For no reason, on the outside.
Feeling safe or unsafe is primarily an emotional occurrence. This said, whenever there is an emotional reaction to any event, situation or whatever it may be, there is the tendency to feel safe or unsafe. There may be outside person, thing or situation but your own thinking could drive you into feeling unsafe and compromised. This is why you need to strive for an inner safe space where even external events cannot create a feeling of compromise or challenge your wellbeing.
2. Physical events such as attack
Physical attacks are a direct, highly offensive and impactful way we may be triggered to feel unsafe. However, you need to realize that the real power does not lie in those events or attacks but in your own emotional reaction to them. Remember the Bible story where Jesus slept even though there was a storm that was ready to collapse their boat? Jesus had an inner safe space which assured him that he was uncompromised and so was his disciples.
3. Words from people such as opinions
Words have so much effect on us that most of the time we don’t even realize the subtlety of it. The words of others to us such as insults, criticism, and accusations (false or true) could send us into a torrent of emotions which can trigger the feeling of unsafety. Recognizing that the words of others do not make you will give you enough power to reject them and restore your mind and safety. Also, responding with “That’s not true” to words of others either out loud or in your mind can help you keep your safety.
4. Situations in life such as decision making or taking on a new course in life
Life could be scary. Going into marriage could be scary. Having kids could be scary. Choosing a career path could be scary. Most situations present us with a myriad of choices that could overwhelm us and also make us fearful because of the feeling of uncertainty. You need to accept that you cannot predict everything and you cannot be sure of everything that you do. Accept that you simply need to trust that everything will be fine while you take the best choices you have.
Spirituality could help in this regard. Believing your God will watch and keep you will allow you to feel safe at all times since he is your guide and you trust him.
How to feel safer in a given situation:
Learning to identify the triggers
Identifying them is half the problem solved. Identifying the triggers of unsafety would equip you with the tricks to tackle them when they rear their ugly faces. If it is a person, you can ignore such a person. If it a place, you can stop going there.
Creating an inner safe space
Feeling safe deals with your emotional state which is affected by your thoughts and mindset. Creating a space or set of beliefs that you can fall back on in times of crisis can help you to identify and deal with triggers without any feeling of unsafety. Here is a comprehensive guide by WikiHow on creating a safe space
We’re all prone to having various beliefs and ideas, and while everyone can have their values in check and express them within reason, a line has to be drawn when someone else is imposing their beliefs onto you while trying to make you look bad or tarnish your self-worth. You may not need to share a philosophy or idea but make it known to the person you are speaking with that it’s alright if you do not want to further conversations. It is perfectly fine and tasteful for two people to agree to disagree.
Believe in yourself
It’s cheesy but this helps more than you think. Hear me out. Most of the time, when we allow ourselves to be intimidated by other people, it is a sign that we have failed to see value in who we are and in how capable we can be. Whoever you are is unique and valuable – and when you lose sight of that to be defined by who others say you should be, you begin to erase an important part of your identity. Claim who you are and be confident that you are good enough and always have been. No one can take that away from you.
This is an important one. People begin to understand how to relate with you when you draw the line between what is and isn’t acceptable. If you would rather keep things shallow and lighthearted in conversations, set a boundary by saying, “I’d like to keep that to myself” or “I don’t want to talk about that”. Not everyone needs to be engaged with on a deep, thought-provoking level. There are only so many thoughts one can provoke.
This deserves more expansion but for the sake of this article’s subject matter, I’ll keep it short and sweet. If your physicality or mental state is under the threat of violence, you need to make other people aware of the threat (be it physical or verbal) and make the identity of the person threatening you known. This alerts them to take a supporting role in your safety while being more mindful of theirs. Even though reporting can be done in different ways and different contexts, it is in your best interest to form a sort of social safety net by inviting other people in your proximity to this information. State the situation in detail. If possible, get it in writing with the date and time. Send a written report to the nearest authority figure in your area who is equipped to deal with the type of threat you’re facing.
How feeling unsafe may be a good thing
There is a huge difference between feeling unsafe, feeling safe and being in actual danger. Most often, you may simply feel unsafe for a reason which doesn’t put you in any form of danger. However, the situation may have the potential of putting you in danger. Therefore, knowing the difference between feeling unsafe and being in actual danger can be a tool or weapon if used wisely. Now the trick is to ascertain the difference and which applies in your situation. If the situation is that you simply feel unsafe but you aren’t in danger, then you can use that information to work towards preventing the danger instead of just feeling unsafe and compromised. This gives you power and power is good, right?
I hope this has helped you gain more perspective on how to mitigate mindsets and situations that make you shrink during interactions with other people.
You owe it to yourself to grow and to be the best version of yourself. You need to unravel all the potential you have inside you. So, do you. Feel safe and confident.
How to feel safer in a given situation:
1. Learning to identify the triggers
2. Creating an inner safe space
3. Assert yourself
4. Believe in yourself
5. Setting Boundaries
6. Reporting threats