There is No Such Thing as Safe (And How to Feel Safe Anyway)

What is safety?

I used to believe that safety was doing all I could do to prevent bad things from happening. I felt I needed the world to change in order for me to feel safe. I needed people to act a certain way, I needed situations to have particular outcomes, I needed to be extra smart and foresee all possible danger so I could avoid it at all costs. I also stocked up on resources so that if a bad thing happened I could minimize the effects as much as I could. I stockpiled money, things, people, feelings, in order to minimize the fear I had of scarcity.

These were fear based reactions and felt very disempowering to myself and to the people, things and situations I felt I had to control in order to feel safe in this world.

I spent my life trying to out run paper tigers. But it was pointless because for every tiger I out ran there were two waiting for me around the corner. I gave these tigers to my friends and loved ones like gifts, making up new reasons why the world was a dangerous place to be. I alarmingly latched onto tigers offered to me by my family, friends, media and culture. It was exhausting finding so much to fear in the world and trying to find ways to out wit the inevitable curve balls that life threw me.

As I dove into my own shadows I saw that trying to be “safe” was actually a way that I cut myself off from life.

I realized that fear is the same response as excitement, it’s just that I layered it with worry and anxiety. Worry and anxiety were just another way of not accepting what is. Excitement happens with change, worry and anxiety are ways to resist change.

So what is safety?

Safety is knowing that all that happens to me is happening for me. Safety is the trust that whatever comes my way I can handle it, so I don’t need to try to control it, and I don’t need to try and prepare for every possible change in life. Safety is accepting what is. Even if its uncomfortable, inconvenient, not expected or downright painful. If you want to live life to the fullest, if you want to thrive and not just get by, if you don’t want to settle for good enough but strive for a life of passion. You have to risk all in order to gain your highest potential. Risk without attachment to outcome.

Safety is knowing that you can never really fuck up, you can only learn or not learn your lessons.

And you will have infinite possibilities to learn those lessons, so if it doesn’t happen this time around then it will come back. Safety is knowing this universe is a patient teacher. One who won’t let you get out of doing your homework, but who is willing to let you stumble as much as you need before you pass the test.

Life has so many moving pieces. Trying to make order of it, to keep it under control, to keep it safe was my mission for the first forty something years of my life. Getting my life ordered and under control meant I made my life increasingly smaller. Suddenly my outside world became very predictable, very structured and very boring.

But the smaller my outside world became the more chaotic my inside world became.

I looked like I had it all together but inside I was suffocating. I traded my authenticity for safety and was paying for it with my soul. Everything looked alright but nothing felt alright. In fact it felt very wrong. I spent this past year tearing apart every part of my life trying to get back to my authentic self. Maybe the self I never had expressed before. My outside world and my inside world were thrown into chaos. Yet increasingly, the chaos started to feel peaceful. The less I could predict the more I could relax into the unknown. It has probably been one of the hardest years of my life. But it has also been one of the most magical, most peaceful, blissful even.

I have come to value risk.

Putting what I hold dear out on the line has helped me to revalue my life. Things I used to find important seem ridiculous, things that used to seem ridiculous are important. I am now convinced that blessings come pouring in on the tides of non-attachment. The less control I claim the more the universe orders things so perfect I could never imagine it. And suddenly the struggle is over, the struggle never existed. It was just an illusion I clung to to give my life meaning.

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