“Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear.” ~ Pema Chodron
This week's lesson for those enrolled in the Superwoman Academy, is on the power of getting safe.
This is the first step in The Superwoman Way because if you don't feel safe you can't access the parts of your brain that are receptive, open-minded, creative and good at solving problems (and you're going to need those parts to do the rest of the work).
For example, when you're in a state of fight or flight, it's all you can do not to run for the nearest hill or scream into your pillow. Am I right?!
When you're in survival mode, all you can focus on is breathing, eating and sleeping (and remembering to put pants on before you walk the dog).
When you are flooded with difficult emotions or an instinct to survive, NOTHING becomes more important than getting safe.
Getting safe can look like a lot of things:
- Meditating after a hard day
- Quitting a toxic job
- Getting out of a bad relationship
- Taking a break in an argument when you feel triggered
To get safe, it's helpful to be brave -- the kind of brave where you embrace fear.
When I left my emotionally abusive spouse to start a fresh new life for myself people called me brave, BUT I DID NOT FEEL BRAVE -- I only felt full of fear.
Sure, I acted brave as I packed my stuff and moved sight-unseen to Portland, Oregon to start my life over. BUT I felt so much turmoil in my heart and soul.
I was terrified of all the uncertainty! I thought leaving my ex might break me. It hurt so bad that it was all I could do to take care of myself each day.
I generally just felt like sh*t.
I didn't know anyone my age who'd been divorced yet, so there was a lot of shame. The economy was crashing and I wasn't sure I'd be able to find a job, which made me feel insecure. Also, I only had $13,000 in my bank account and hadn't worked in two years, so I wasn't sure I was worthy of much.
I didn't know what I was going to do with my life, but I knew I couldn't figure it out as long as I was in that relationship where I felt emotionally unsafe.
It wasn't until I got a steady job and developed a regular routine that I started to feel safe enough to figure out my life.
If you need to get safe in your own life to figure things out...I believe in your ability to do that.
If you need to ask for a break in an argument to feel safe, I give you permission.
If you need to quit a toxic job before you can figure out your next career move, I salute you.
It's amazing what happens when you embrace fear, act brave and move towards higher ground. Once you feel safe, magical things can start to happen.
PS: If you are in an abusive relationship of any sort, please get help. There is no shame in asking for support. I found this website incredibly helpful when I was figuring things out and here is the link to the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
PPS: By the way, getting safe isn't always about getting out of something bad -- it can also look like rekindling strained relationships, living a healthier lifestyle, and decorating your home, for example.
PPPS: What do you need to do to feel more safe in your own life?