It is wonderful that there are safe spaces nowadays to have open, tough and real conversations.

It is the group and facilitator’s responsibility to make a space “safe.” A space that has a culture that allows for those types of conversations to happen. A space that is led by curiosity and not blame. A space where participants actively contribute to holding that space and its values.

If a participant shares in that space and does not feel safe, it can easy to point to the space and say – it is not safe! But an individual who enters those circles is not simply at the whim of the guidelines and the group. They are an individual who has a personal responsibility for their feelings. In a meeting today, someone pointed out that there is a difference between unsafe and uncomfortable, and I found it quite profound. The distinction is that the group is responsible for making it feel safe and the individual is responsible for distinguishing their feelings and if they indeed are not safe or if they are rather not comfortable.

Being uncomfortable may feel the same as being unsafe, especially if we are in a new group, have been wronged in the past or don’t have a lot of practice sharing and being vulnerable with others. Our nervous system will raise all sorts of red flags because this new feeling feels like a threat. While how we feel should never be discounted, we need to evaluate if we are the cause of our own fears of safety. A safe space (that has an effective facilitator and culture) will never truly feel safe until we can do that within ourselves.

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I write everyday because it allows me to voice what is at the surface. Once that is out of my head, I can dig in another layer deeper. My daily writing practice has been my greatest exploration of self and humanity. Sign up here to receive these thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.