I talk a LOT around here about becoming your own safe place. About learning how to be there for yourself when you're sad, struggling, scared or don't know what to do. I talk about the importance of learning how to be on your own side, so that you can bring your nervous system into a state of relative calm. I talk about why this self love = safety is the KEY to growth and expansion, because it puts us in the state we need to be in in order to actually learn. In order to see what we aren't seeing, to know what we don't yet know, to discover our next steps AND it gives us the capacity to TAKE those steps. It takes us out of fight or flight mode where we are slaves to our habits and conditioning and into an actual liberated state.
But the truth is, learning to become this for ourselves is no easy task.
Let's dive into this today, so that if you are feeling discouraged on your path, if you're feeling like you're tryin SO HARD to be a safe space for yourself, if you're feeling like attempting to be a safe place for yourself is actually making you feel LESS safe or if you're just confused as to whether or not you're 'doing it right' - because when you try to be there for yourself you don't actually 'feel' anything, you can know that you are in fact on the right track, and this is just what it looks like.
Becoming Your Own Safe Place Is HARD:
Learning to become your own safe place is REALLY hard - especially if you didn’t have a secure attachment growing up/suffered from trauma. Even if you *did* have some security in your childhood - our way of life and culture still very much disconnects us from OURSELVES and from REALITY - which means when we try to ‘be there for ourselves’ it feels like no one’s home.
If you don’t have in inner sense of being able to be THERE for yourself, an underlying sense that when challenges come your way that you can figure things out, if you don’t feel like you’re capable of facing challenges because you feel like you don’t have what it takes to learn and grow but rather that challenge means eternal suffering, if you don’t have a forgiving inner critic that is able to see your innocence when you make mistakes, who can support you in learning from your failures - this means that you didn’t get a secure attachment in your formative years that taught you how to LEARN from the teachers of life - pain and pleasure. You didn't learn how to identify your own needs, and how to figure out how to get those needs met in reality. You didn't learn how to use challenge as a tool for growth. You were instead taught to disconnect from your feelings, to deny your feelings, to fight with reality and to be what others expected you to be so that you would be LIKED - and this cut you off from true reality. Leaving you feeling alone inside when you aren't being loved by someone outside of yourself.
This is something that is HUGELY missing from our society.
Most of us grew up being shamed, blamed, abandoned and rescued in our expressions and emotions, and when we made ‘mistakes’ or were in our learning process. When we made messes. Rather than being shown how to problem solve when we were hurting, how to clean up messes made when we were learning how reality worked, rather than learning how to work WITH our bodies and WITH our emotions to figure out what actually WORKS for human nature - we were rather given a set of ‘rules’ for how life is ‘supposed to be’ that we then had to follow no matter how it felt and no matter the short or long term consequences.
We were shown that consensus reality is RIGHT and pain means YOU are doing something wrong/reality has gone wrong somehow.
We were also brought up in homes and cultures that tended to have pretty strict parameters for what was and wasn’t ‘ok’ - leaving so many of us feeling like what we ARE fundamentally is WRONG. Any part of us that got us REJECTED - due to the fact that that rejection, in our early childhood, was an existential threat as we could not provide for ourselves - became a part of self we had to disconnect from/hate/try to change or get rid of in order to feel like we were going to be SAFE.
**This is where we learned not to learn and not to be connected to reality or ourselves.**
We learned that we NEEDED others to survive, and in that need we needed their APPROVAL. So survival wasn’t about doing what was truly ‘right’ in terms of actual results in actual reality, survival was about being loved and accepted, understood by those around us, so that THEY could provide for our needs and wants. This codependent childhood reality is something most of us have carried forward.
We learned very early on that pain = being in pain until we’re rescued, because we were never taught how to look at pain as information that leads to change and transformation.
Society generally doesn’t react this way to pain.
Rather we run from it, deny it, hide it, or again succumb to it as though it's a permanent fixture once it arrives.
We live in a world where we assume that we are RIGHT in how we are doing things, and that we ‘should’ be getting the results we want from our actions - and if we don’t there's no learning that happens. Rather we keep doing the same things over and over in slightly different ways, thinking 'eventually' it will work, we trick ourselves into thinking what we are doing IS working through lots of mental gymnastics, OR we believe that we simply can't have what we want, believing there is no answer and that's the end of that.
We do this because we don’t have the base skills of observation and investigation leading to evolution.
Our Relationship With Pain Is Backwards:
Because we were rejected in our expressions and experiences of pain in childhood, we developed a warped relationship with pain. Because we were rejected for our mistakes and misunderstandings, on a foundational level we STILL view pain, mistakes, not knowing and having to change as a sign that WE are BAD - and that being BAD means being REJECTED and being REJECTED equals DEATH.
We get SO triggered in our nervous systems when we are hurting or not getting the results we expected, we don't even consider learning. We go straight into coping, numbing, self sabotaging or looking to be rescued because pain on a NERVOUS SYSTEM LEVEL to us means rejection and death. It doesn't mean time to learn. It doesn't mean we can figure things out. It means we are in trouble.
Our relationship with pain and not knowing got so connected to being rejected and dying that we have built entire systems around denying, running from, ignoring and rationalizing our pain away. Meaning we never learn. We never change. We are stuck in loops of behaviour that are rooted in wanting to be ACCEPTED rather than learning what needs to be learned in REAL REALITY to get our actual needs met. Because we learned that needs getting met = being loved and provided for by someone else to us, being accepted STILL feels like THE PATH to being safe and surviving. Being rejected STILL feels like certain death. We never got to understand our autonomy and capacity to sort reality out for ourselves - losing the middle man between our pain/needs and figuring out how to get our needs met. We still feel DEPENDENT upon others - no matter how intellectually evolved we may think we are - and it shows in how we respond to pain through denial and looking to be saved.
Any part of self that got us rejected we had to disconnect from. And ALL those parts are parts we NEED in our adulthood in order to function well.
Any mistake we made, any pain we suffered that we DIDN'T get to learn from became a TRAUMA we are not stuck in a loop of repeating in our current lives. Because we didn't learn WHY we were in pain (what was antagonizing us/what our needs were/how to meet our needs in a way that aligns with reality.) Those needs didn't go away. That pain didn't go away. We simply never learned the why's or how to get what we needed in a harmonious way.
We were too busy trying to FIT IN, as a kind of BACK DOOR way of getting our needs met/having our pain fixed. THAT'S what we learned in childhood. How to change OURSELVES so as to be LOVED so that an external source would understand us and meet our needs. We are STILL running that program. Pain = rejection. Rejection = death. Do whatever we have to do to be LOVED and THAT is what feels like SAFETY to us. It's a disconnection from reality.
We were disconnected from our pain and pleasure sensing mechanisms very early on because we had to deny pain in order to fit in, and we had consensus reality pleasure - that feeling of being safe through acceptance - covering up TRUE pain and pleasure.
True pain and pleasure tell us what supports our growth and what is antagonistic to us.
This is a key thing to understand - when something hurts, it means it’s going against reality. In that codependent reality of our childhoods pleasure = fitting in because fitting in = provision.
In adulthood pain = out of sync with reality. We never learned this.
We are stuck in loops of believing we must fit in to be safe, and fitting in so often means we have to align with things that don’t support our growth, and in fact harm us.
We learned that we had to be a certain way and couldn’t be other ways in order to be SAFE.
We then developed many parts of self that split off from one another all in an attempt to adapt to the environment we were in.
This environment got more and more confusing as we grew up and had to contend with fitting into several different people’s version of ‘good’ (peers, teachers, bosses etc), leading to more and more splits. We learned to hate, reject, deny and work to get rid of any part of self that led to rejection, because to our NERVOUS SYSTEMS and our PERCEPTIONS (which were programmed before we had higher reasoning capacity) rejection = DEATH.
We STILL feel this way in our adulthood.
We still feel like survival = being accepted/right in terms of consensus.
We still fear being ourselves and being rejected. We still feel like it is an existential threat to be cast out of society.
No matter how much pain trying to fit in may cause, we all do it (or find ‘fringe groups to identify with in place of fitting into larger society) because ultimately we FEEL deep in our core that connection = survival.
Any part of self that cuts us off from connection is going to be perceived as a threat - something we will work subconsciously and consciously to get rid of. Meaning we all have parts of self that we are rejecting, that never got to grow, that never got to ‘become’ - and thus aren’t capable of helping us FEEL STRONG. We have all these parts that never got to grow into their capable, adult version, but have stayed as wounded children, looking for love from the external world to provide safety or them. We aren’t connected to the parts of self that CAN figure things out, because we had to disconnect from them to fit in.
We Never Learned How To Connect With FEELING:
We never learned how to work with our FEELINGS in order to determine what does and doesn't work in real REALITY. It’s all been filtered through the middle man of others meeting/not meeting our needs. Others approval/disapproval OVERRIDING actual RESULTS and CONSEQUENCES of actions.
We all have stories and fears around what will happen if we are rejected, if we go another way from the 'norms' we were imprinted with. We all have projections that we send out onto those around us that are based in the reality of our childhood homes - the ‘rules’ for provision in that environment - that we now believe are THE RULES for LIFE.
We are attracted to people, places and things that mirror our home environments because we know how to operate in those environments - even if they are totally painful and harmful.
We aren’t attracted to environments that are different from our upbringing - no matter how soothing or amazing they may be in real reality - because again our nervous systems don’t know how to operate there. We learned to outsource answers to those around us, what others think, rather than learning to look at actual RESULTS of actions. This is MASSIVE. We stay in loops of behaviour and perceptions that don’t get us good results for our entire lives, because they are what get us approved of/what is familiar to our primitive nervous systems. We aren’t connected to our guidance system - to the actual messengers of life. We are only connected to what others THINK and BELIEVE and we believe THAT is the route to being given what we need.
We don’t know how to connect to the pain we are in as a tool for learning. We don’t have emotionally matured aspects of self that can live as adults in this world. We don’t have access to our TRUE feelings because we have outsourced our sense of safety onto those around us approving of us. We don’t know how to figure out what’s right and wrong - and if consensus or what we were taught is harmful, we usually can’t actually change our way of being because that would require going AGAINST our survival based nervous system programs - and that feels like a death threat.
So we loop in lives that make no sense to us, in behaviors that make no sense, doing what we can to try to fit in, find our community - and when we can’t, when we feel lost or rejected or unable to do what we ‘have to do’ to be ‘good’ based on our conditioning, we crumble into a pile of doubt and fear that rocks us to our core. We don’t know how to change to align with real reality, and thus we stay stuck in cycles of pain and looking to be loved and therefore rescued by the external world. Or we trick ourselves into believing we are ‘independent’ - hardening ourselves and being contrarian for the sake of it - continuing to have pain because we aren’t finding TRUTH, we are just finding REBELLION.
Is it any wonder that we cope, self sabotage and scapegoat?
This Is Why You Don't Feel Connected Inside:
We are disconnected from our FEELING bodies that would provide CLARITY for us as to what is and isn’t right for us, and around what supports us as a humanity and what doesn’t. We are cut off from our true personalities and capacities because we are so busy editing ourselves, trying to be what the world wants us to be, that we can’t ever ACCESS that still, true voice within that would guide us in learning and growing through this life experience.
We aren’t meant to know everything, we are meant to learn and change, to evolve and grow.
We aren’t meant to ‘fit in’ but rather figure out how our unique way of being can serve to enrich the whole.
We all have our part to play - and it’s our common needs and unique gifts that could - hypothetically - lead to a harmony within humanity where we create security through each individual offering their skills in support of the whole.
But for this, we would have to be connected to OURSELVES and to REALITY (actual results of actions) so that we could develop systems that serve all of us.
In this society, we would be connected to ourselves, and we would actually MATURE. We would grow into adults who don’t fear pain, don’t fear failure, don’t even fear being ‘cut off’ because we know how to LEARN from pain, we know how to FIGURE THINGS OUT, and we understand how to evolve ourselves to reach higher and higher levels of satisfaction. Because at the end of the day, we are biology. We want to grow and express. This means we need to get our needs met AND we need to figure out who we are and keep evolving that being. THAT’S what makes a life a LIFE. That’s what feeling resourced, connected and GOOD feels like. When we know we can learn, when we know we have ever more to discover about ourselves and reality, and are excited to go out and DO that, we are expressing our genetic potential. THAT’S what inner connection really feels like and stems from.
The ability to be ourselves in this reality.
Our society has cut us off from all of this.
This has meant that we don’t feel connected INSIDE. We don’t feel stable INSIDE. We don’t feel capable INSIDE - because we are disconnected from the TOOLS that would give us the FEELING of being ok.
We don’t feel we can figure things out, and we don’t know who we are, what parts of self to love or reject, what we are supposed to be or how we are meant to respond to pain in an empowered way.
We feel a void inside because we have all been working our WHOLE LIVES to FIT IN - and this has cost us our inner resource.
We don't feel capable, we don't feel like our own presence is anything, because we still feel that needs get met from approval, not from interacting with pain and pleasure in order to understand ourselves and reality more.
We still feel like because approval = getting needs met, being on our own, trying to be there for ourselves, trying to figure reality out for ourselves means pain. Means not getting our needs met. Means being alone and therefore not provided for FOREVER.
The connection between being loved by someone else and having what we need, and not being loved by someone else and not having what we need is SO STRONG, and we had to SACRIFICE our connection to self and reality (which are what leads to that feeling of safety and security from WITHIN, knowing we can figure things out and meet our own needs). THIS is why our own love feels like nothing, or even feels traumatizing.
Learning to see that we can figure things out, that our pain can be understood, that we can figure out what our own needs are and get them met, seeing that we can connect with REALITY in order to find true pleasure - THIS is what 'being on our own side' does for us. THIS is what that feeling of being 'connected' really boils down to. Knowing we can figure it out, can meet our own needs, can solve our own problems and can grow from pain instead of getting stuck in it.
THAT'S what 'God' feels like. Eternal love, that allows the nervous system to relax, making us feel like we're going to be ok no matter what, because we have the tools to figure things out.
We weren’t loved for who we ARE. We weren’t shown how to LEARN from mistakes and pain. We were shamed and abandoned and rescued. We were taught to abandon ourselves during challenge. We were taught to defer to the opinions and powers of others.
Thus, this work of becoming our own safe place - where we feel that inner resourcefulness that we can be here for ourselves through challenge, that we can figure things out - it’s a long journey. It means developing a LOT of skills we were very much taught NOT to have.
If you feel that inner void - it’s not your fault. You’re not doing anything wrong. You were TAUGHT to be disconnected from yourself and from reality.
Your pain isn’t your fault. You CAN figure it out.
The first steps are to start considering that pain doesn’t mean you’re bad OR trapped. It’s just a messenger that something’s out of sync with reality. Society doesn’t have it all figured out. Who you have been told you MUST be or CAN’T be may not be TRUE.
Just start there. Slowly, one step at a time, get curious rather than self blaming.
Reality WILL lead you from there.