This is painful. It’s something I never wanted to, or thought, we’d have to talk about. With the upheaval in our country on all sides caused by the election results, everything feels a bit tougher these past few weeks. It’s like many of us are trying to walk through mud with every step… wondering how to move forward in these uncertain times.
In my counseling practice, clients who have experienced trauma work hard in therapy to feel safe enough and calm enough each day. Understandably in light of the current political and social environment, many clients have asked the question, “How can I feel safe enough right now?” The answer is relevant to everyone.
Whether you’ve dealt with trauma or not, most are dealing with at least some of the difficulties of life. Now more than ever, it’s essential that we find safe places and have our voices heard in a safe and peaceful way. Here are my 8 recommendations to feel safe right now:
- Remember your own self-care skills. As adults, we do have some power and have often learned skills that help us feel calm and safe, whether it’s mindfulness, a grounding object or turning off the TV. Start by implementing these boundaries discussed in this post.
- Grieve. This is an important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. It’s okay to grieve for what you thought was going to happen. Allow yourself time to be sad or cry until you can reach some level of acceptance from which you can take the next step.
- Surround yourself with the people who make you feel supported and safe. Make it a point to see and speak with the people who make you feel seen, heard, and supported. Go for coffee with a friend, go for a walk with a neighbor or arrange a family dinner. Healthy relationships matter.
- Help the greater good. Fight fear and anger with kindness, whether small acts or large ones. Consider volunteering your time for a great organization that needs support.
- Be a safe space. Whether you wear a safety pin or not, choose to be a safe space for those around you. Show those who may feel powerless or bullied that you stand in solidarity with them.
- Smile and honor those who just want to be loved. I am encouraging everyone to smile at the stranger you pass on the street. Be kind and respectful to all human beings no matter their race, religion, gender, sexuality, culture, political beliefs or anything else. The reality is, we all have common ground; most people just want to be loved, accepted and safe.
- Keep a gratitude journal. If you don’t have one, now is a great time to start one. What can you be grateful for today? Look around the room … Your pet? Your home? Your family members? Your nutritious meal? Your health? It’s an important time to pinpoint what’s positive. A great, free journal app for iPhone is called Notes to Self.
- Remember that NO means NO. Even if the state of the world feels out of control, remember that you are in charge of your body and your space. Remember no one gets to touch your body without your permission! There are people who will hear you and believe you if such an awful act has happened to you!
It doesn’t really matter to me who you voted for; it matters that you feel safe in your heart, in your space and in your community. Let’s take the focus off anger to see what that anger is covering up. That way, we can figure out what we all really need. I believe it starts with decency, intelligence, kindness and consciousness.
What to do if you don’t feel safe enough…
If you are currently being bullied, facing discrimination, or are at risk for sexual assault, reach out to someone safe that will hear you. Those people do exist – therapists, clergy, social justice community leaders, or even the authorities if need be! If you have a trauma history and are not feeling safe, a trauma informed therapist can help you develop the tools to feel safe enough, calm enough and grounded enough. Here are my tips on how to find a good therapist.
Blog posts & Articles
- Loving a Trauma Survivor: Understanding Childhood Trauma’s Impact On Relationships
- Sexual Assault: What It Looks Like, How to Prevent It and Help Survivors Recover