We all need a place we feel like we belong.
A place we feel safe, heard, and seen.
ِA place we can turn to when the world becomes cruel and dark.
Some might call it a safe space. Others might give it another name, but either way it all means the same thing; having a place where we feel safe to be our authentic selves without the fear of being judged, misunderstood, or even harassed.
“You’re trying to create an environment which promotes people to feel comfortable enough to talk about things that typically won’t be spoken about … where people can speak up, where they feel like nothing that’s going to be said is going to be taken out and used against them.” - Zanib Cheema, George Mason University, Class of 2017
However, not everyone is lucky enough to have found this place, and not having a safe space where you can be your truest, most authentic self can be quite distressing. When someone feels like they are trapped and continuously have to explain themselves to avoid judgment and discrimination, they will suffer emotionally and mentally. Therefore, it is imperative for people to know how they can create their own safe space.
- Get to know yourself
Knowing who you are is the first step to determining the things that make you feel safe and heard. This comes down to understanding what your values are, triggers, and where you need to set boundaries.
It is imperative that you meet yourself from within and understand where your boundaries lay. This way you can have a better understanding of what the word “safe” means to you.
- Surround yourself with the right people
An important aspect of feeling safe and accepted is knowing who to surround ourselves with. If you find yourself spending time with people who are constantly making you feel judged and discriminated against, then these people are not for you.
You need to know who the right people are for you. These people will make you feel accepted, heard, and safe. By surrounding yourself with the right people for you, you will start feeling that you belong somewhere and thus feel safe to communicate your wants and needs.
The right people are those who are good for your mental health and those who encourage you to be yourself unapologetically.
- Seek a support group
Sometimes the people closest to us end up being people who make us feel deeply unsafe. And when this happens, it is crucial that you seek out a support group that you feel aligns with who you are and what you need.
Going to a support group can help you find people who are similar to you and thus understand what you are going through. Sometimes we need the support of strangers to get through, and there is no shame in that.
- Join a class
Joining a gym or painting class can also be a great way to meet like-minded individuals you can click with. Considering classes that are more mindful and meditative like yoga or meditation can also be a great way to start. Many of these classes are more of communities that tend to be supportive.
- Create your own safe space
If you are one of those people who know they have a good support system and yet find themselves unable to ask for their support, then maybe the right step is to take the first step and create this safe space for you and others.
This can look like weekly or monthly meet-ups that are all about connecting on a deeper level and having a space where you and your loved ones can feel safe, heard, and supported.
Sometimes we all feel like we are alone, and making the first move might help YOU and others get through.
Ultimately, having a safe space is crucial for our mental and emotional wellbeing, and therefore, it is important that we all work towards creating one for ourselves and others as well.