Recently I discovered, or I guess RE-discovered, my 13 year old self around the time I moved from Georgia to Ohio. I figured this was an important time in my life and have always wondered how it might have affected me. By exploring my feelings and thoughts, from my heart instead of my mind, I remembered my bedroom and what it represented.
I realized that I had created this spot, at least partly, in response to some experiences with the outside world. See, I was bullied quite a bit as a kid. And I’m not looking for sympathy about that, I’m trying to illustrate how life-changing being bullied can be and hopefully relate to others that have had similar experiences or know people who have.
I had constructed a safe place where I could be me because sometimes being me in the real world was painful. What’s super cool about this, is realizing what a healthy response to bullying this was! Our reactions to negative experiences can be all kinds of things, good and bad, but creating a safe place seems to be at the top of the good list. Instead of changing who I was, I just protected it – and continued to be myself, but in an environment I could control.
The downside is that I never really dealt with being bullied, and I isolated myself from a lot of outside experiences. Because my room was so safe, I spent a lot of time there while my peers were doing social activities. This, of course, isn’t all bad, but i carried some of those fears into adulthood. I also learned to identify myself as a lone wolf and continued to seek safety by isolating myself.
The universal lesson here is how much we need to feel safe, and that when we aren’t we can create actual safe spaces but also the illusion of safety. On the good side there are things like creating a comfortable home and family environment where people we love know who we are and around whom we can be ourselves. The bad side is turning to alcohol, drugs, porn, gambling, or whatever to create the illusion of control or safety. I guess I’m pretty lucky that this 13 year old kid made some pretty decent decisions.
How about you? Do you have safety in your life?
Podcast audio download here: https://pdcn.co/e/https://chtbl.com/track/CGDA9D/www.buzzsprout.com/530563/8020573-kew-episode-42-safety.mp3?blob_id=36014412&download=true or via your favorite podcast app.
YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/0APL404G-N4