I didn’t feel safe. For most of my life, I didn’t feel safe.
But I didn’t know it. I didn’t know I felt unsafe because there wasn’t an alternative. I didn’t know it was possible to feel safer.
I thought I felt good and safe, but I was just shy. Or it took me a while to open up to new people. Or I had a hard time expressing myself.
When you don’t feel safe, you become a master of knowing your surroundings. You are constantly monitoring the situation, constantly evaluating exactly what you are safe to say and how.
You don’t want to reveal your spirituality to a certain crowd or your sexuality to another. You are constantly evaluating.
And I didn’t feel safe. Except I thought I did. I really thought this was the way life was. That sometimes I was outgoing and other times I wasn’t. Sometimes I was playful, and other times I wasn’t. And there was no rhyme or reason to any of it.
I think the most painful part of being in a super safe container is recognizing how unsafe every other container has been.
When Garrett and I first started dating, I remember how safe I felt. How much I could relax. How much I wasn’t on edge. How ridiculously myself I could be. And how much shame I could transmute.
Once—when I was reading The Artist’s Way, I asked him to make and play with paper dolls, since it was something I did when I was little to create short stories. And he did it.
I thought of all of the shame I felt—that it was too childish, too feminine, too something—but he didn’t care. It was safe. Anything I could do was safe.
I could say anything—even the wrong thing. And I could act weird. And may jokes. And be silly.
In fact, I’ve come to gauge how good a container something is for me simply by how comfortable I feel being weird in it.
If I’m okay being weird, it’s safe. And I can explore all of me.
I don’t think I ever really got to know myself until I started to feel safe. Because most of my personality was a defense mechanism. To seem enough. To garner praise. To hide shame.
Earlier this week, someone on in our Mastermind was visibly shaking. She’d never been in a container as safe as the Mastermind before. And that alone was bringing up all kinds of shit.
That she didn’t have to explain herself. That she could be immediately understood. That she didn’t have to worry if she said it right. Or even what people thought.
She was safe to just be.
It’s something our Sacred Circle unpacked this week, too. What it’s like to have a space that ridiculously safe. A space where you start sharing things you’ve never shared publicly before. Where you meet the parts of yourself that weren’t safe to come forward before.
Where you’re safe to be yourself.
A few weeks ago, I was talking to someone about the Sacred Circle, and she said, “It takes me a little to feel comfortable opening up in spaces, but I’m working on feeler safer to be myself right away.”
And I stopped her. “Why do you assume the onus to feel safe is on you? I’m holding this container. That’s my job. If it doesn’t feel safe, that’s a reflection of me and the work, not of you.”
I thought about all the time in my life that I assumed I was the problem. I was the fucked up one. I was just being shy or awkward for no reason.
And it killed me. It absolutely killed me that sometimes I would just randomly get shy. And I couldn’t figure out why. And I’d just get so angry with myself. That I couldn’t just be normal. That I couldn’t just fucking figure it out in life.
I never in a million years thought the container I was in—the conversation, the relationship, the friendship, the space—was unsafe for me. I never thought that maybe this wasn’t the right space for me to work on this issue just yet. Maybe I wasn’t ready to hold my own in unsafe spaces.
Maybe I need extreme safety to begin to unpack my own shame.
Healing only happens in containers.
That’s so important, I’m going to repeat that: Healing only happens in containers.
And so it’s the safety of that container that dictates how much healing can happen. Nothing else. Safer relationships or communities or friendships allow for more healing.
That’s the bottom line.
Once I found the safety in my relationship with Garrett, I knew what safety truly felt like. And I started to change all of my relationships. All of my friendships. To only ones where I felt super, super safe. And asking for what I needed from or releasing the ones that didn’t.
And I can say pretty confidently that just six years later, almost every container I have in life feels ridiculously safe. And I’m more in love with myself now than I’ve ever been. Because I’m safe to be all of myself.
That’s why I do the work that I do. That’s why we’re obsessed with creating the safest container you’ve ever known in the Sacred Circle. Because that’s the only way that immense healing can happen.
Have you ever felt truly, truly safe?
Does it feel so easy and effortless to be yourself in every container? What containers does it feel easer to be yourself in? What containers does it feel challenging?
Let us know in the comments or pop on over to the Sacred Branding™ Facebook group to continue this conversation with support.
Sending you lots of love.