Have you been in a conversation and have felt that no one seems to understand you? Your thoughts or feelings are disregarded and your perspective isn’t relatable? Do you shut down, and just wind up nodding along with what others are saying while no longer caring to express yourself?
For this week’s Feel Good Friday, we discuss the topic of “safe spaces,” and how they can be beneficial to you.
Our daily interactions with others are powerful. People are social and it’s our nature to connect and build relationships with one another. Our conversations shape our day and influence our moods with a variety of emotions such as amusement, excitement or frustration. Sometimes our interactions make us feel unwanted or rejected, which can lead us to isolate and yearn for a safe space to retreat to.
When you hear the term safe space, images of your cozy bed may pop up. Safe spaces make us feel comfortable and secure, especially when there is so much confusion and trouble in the world today. Physical safe spaces such as your home are your sanctuary — which brings most people comfort and relief at the end of a long day. Creating safe spaces outside of home is a mindful practice you can do daily. By creating open two-way communication, everyone can feel comfortable when sharing ideas and opinions. Below are tips to create safe spaces today.
Safe spaces at work
Get to know your team: Take the time to get to know your team members on a personal level. When you build relationships on common interests and experience, you build trust. You can’t provide a safe space at work if your team doesn’t know you.
Stop negative talk: Never engage with inappropriate workplace behavior or conversations. Taking action to correct unhealthy workplace factors immediately will create a culture of accountability.
Walking the talk: Role model the behavior you expect of all your team members. When your words and actions are consistent, it will inspire others to create safe spaces at work and in their personal lives.
Safe space for yourself
Personal contemplation: Designate a quiet room or area for your personal contemplation practice, such as journaling or meditation. Creating a physical safe space where you can go to daily is an essential self-care practice. You can take this moment to question your views or behavior so you can learn from your experiences.
Remove yourself from harm: If you feel uncomfortable, let others know that the topics being discussed are unpleasant or excuse yourself from the conversation. Never feel that you have to listen to or sit through anything that makes you feel attacked or oppressed.
Creating safe spaces with others
Empathize: Feel your feelings when someone is sharing their story. Be accepting of them, even if these feelings are uncomfortable at first. Being vulnerable is a challenge for most people, so if someone is opening up to you, consider yourself honored by their presence.
Breathe: When you feel a pull or tightness in your chest, sweaty palms or other physical reactions to what others are sharing, remember to breathe! Long, deep inhales followed by complete exhales will connect you back to your body. Deep breathing is grounding, calming and soothing.
Listen: Truly engage with people by listening to their story. Avoid thinking of solutions or criticizing. Don’t prepare a response to interject when there is a pause in a story. Allow yourself to be fully present in the conversation and give advice or your opinion only when it is asked of you.