When I was a little girl I was very shy and quiet. A bit of a wallflower. I didn’t talk to strangers, didn’t cross the street before the light turned green, didn’t ride a bike until I knew I wouldn’t fall off, and never, ever dove off cliffs into the water below. I was not a risk taker. Because I didn’t want to get hurt. Because I wanted to feel safe. I lived by the creed, “Better safe than sorry.” It took me a long time to build up the courage to do things that scared me. It took years before I felt comfortable jumping off the head of this stone lizard and onto the knotted rope swing:
As I got older, the more safe I felt, the more risks I took. I jumped off the head of the lizard. I dove into rivers, ventured into caves, talked to strangers. I built up to that point because I felt it was safe to do so.
Yesterday as I journaled about my topic du jour (doubt), I realized my grown-up mind is also trying to protect me. As a kid I kept myself safe by never taking risks, by sitting on the sidelines. As an adult I’m keeping myself safe by doubting things will come to pass. Because if they don’t happen then, well, I never thought they would anyway. It’s that adage, “If you don’t try, you’ll never fail.” There are so many places I could go from here, so many points I could make, but what I want to express is I am safe at all times. Am I any safer now when I jump off the stone lizard than I was at 6 years old? No. Is it any safer now for me to cross the street before the light turns green than when I was 3? No. The only difference is in my head. The only difference is my perception.
What I’m realizing is safety, just like happiness, comes from within. It’s not an external force. I am not safe as soon as X, Y, and Z happens (or doesn’t happen as the case may be). I am safe at all times, in all ways, in all situations. It is safe for me to plow ahead, to reach for my dreams, to put my heart on the line. It’s safe for me to believe my intuition and accept divine guidance. It’s safe for me to think I can accomplish what I set my mind to. It’s safe for me to get hurt. Safety is not the absence of pain or sorrow or failure because all those things will happen anyway. Safety is really and truly a perspective. It’s a feeling. And I get to choose how I feel.
So I thank doubt and fear and my good girl complex for doing their job, for helping me to feel safe, for facilitating that process. I thank doubt and fear and whatever else has brought me to where I am today but it’s time to let them go now. It’s time to say, “Goodbye old friends, you served your purpose well.” Instead I know everything is already within me. I can take risks, I can dive off cliffs, I can believe what I feel intuitively because I carry safety within me.
Dr. Alan Zimmerman has a really beautiful quote that fits in quite nicely with the theme of this post:
“Remember the will of God never takes you to where the grace of God will not protect you.”
Knowing I carry safety within me, I strive forward, I take risks, I leave my fears and doubts by the wayside because I am already safe without them. I know safety is a feeling I create for myself irrespective of my environment and external circumstances. And that’s what I wish for others as well.
I dream of a world where everyone feels safe at all times. A world where we can create that for each other. A world where we strive to create the feeling of safety in others by constructing a harmonious environment, a peaceful planet, a world filled with love. A world where we love ourselves and each other unconditionally. A world where that unconditional love translates into how we treat each other. A world where we know we are safe no matter what.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.