Wednesday Wisdom: The Case for a Safe Space

Celebrating my big purchase with my mom and dear friends, one year ago today at Shugas in Colorado Springs. 

It was one year ago today I dropped my life savings into purchasing a pair of house keys worth about a quarter of a million dollars. For a commitment-phobe like me, a house meant more than just owning a home. First off, I did it on my own (All the women, who are independent, throw your hands up at me!) Secondly, I was ten years old when my parents’ divorce rocked my world, and I hadn’t felt like I had a place to call home. Yes, I had a structural roof over my head, but I no longer had a warm, safe, inviting physical space and I no longer had the cohesive family unit to go with it.

After my parents divorce, I hating spending time at my house. Luckily I had one friend whom her house became my second home, and I spent lots of time with her intact, albeit dysfunctional, (written with love) family.  Holidays became dates I yearned to escape as I still continue to travel during most family holidays to avoid confronting painful reminders of my broken childhood home.

But buying my house became a symbol of taking back control of my security, ensuring I had a safe space, physically, mentally and emotionally. What I didn’t know was that my emotional healing would be accelerated after buying my home.

Two months after purchasing my house, I decided to try a more intense form of therapy called psychosomatic trauma release. I discovered it after discussing it, with my massage therapist, an experience I had while meditating, attempting a full body scan.

“I didn’t have monkey brain (layman’s terms: my mind consistently ruminating on thoughts throughout the meditation). But I couldn’t feel my chest or the lower half of my body while doing the body scan.”

“Maybe your body is holding onto something you haven’t fully processed yet,” my massage therapist mentioned, speaking about my childhood experiences. She referred me to my current therapist and the rest was history.

Jumping into therapy required diving head first into traumatic scenarios that I hadn’t revisited since childhood, most memories repressed along with trapped emotions. After revisiting those traumatic experiences and creating new storylines attached to healing and growth, my general anxiety melted away, my emotional triggers now have less of an impact and I can finally feel my legs, hips and chest.

Having my safe space to take refuge post-therapy was vital to my healing process. In fact I argue without my house I would have been less than willing to explore the deepest, darkest depths of my own personal psychology.

Human developmental psychology supports having a sense of personal safety in order to achieve self actualization or a person’s full potential. Abraham Maslow, the originator of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, theorized that humans must reach a level where their personal safety is met, (i.e. shelter, job security, health, and safe environments). Maslow claimed that if a person did not feel safe in a particular environment, they will continue to seek safety before they attempt to meet any higher level of survival (love and belonging, esteem (accomplishments), and self actualization.

My own healing has taught me the value of a safe space, and my willingness to offer it to others. I intend for my home to be a warm, inviting, safe space for anyone who enters, and  I’ve even adopted the safe space mindset to employ in my classroom for my students. But safety doesn’t only come in the form of a physical space. It can be as simple as being someone’s safe space to vent, a non-judgmental friend whom you can share some deeply personal information or the occasional SOS text, “I’m not okay.”  Being that’s safe person can be instrumental in someone’s personal healing process.

I’m grateful for the handful of friends who are my safe space when I need them, and I hope to think I reciprocate in kind. If you want to see someone transform their life, to reach their fullest potential, provide them with a safe space, physically, mentally and emotionally. A year ago I unknowingly took back control over my safety by purchasing my house. Although it cost me a quarter of a million dollars, it’s value, to me personally, was and continues to be priceless!



One thought on “Wednesday Wisdom: The Case for a Safe Space

  1. Happy House-aversary! Beautiful post. You’ve come such a long way on your journey, geographically AND spiritually! Time to celebrate and enjoy! 🙂

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