What we saw on the surface last year in almost all relationships in life, personal and professional, was a whole lot of conflict and tension over differing viewpoints about needs and what should be done in the world. Social media became even more of the messy, dirty, overused, under-maintenanced public toilet than it already was for projection of heated opinions, as people actively, often spontaneously discharged their tensions on one another, over their differing opinions on what was the best course of action.
But the real problem/s underlying this often had little do with what was actually being said in the moment to the other person. That one thing may have, in some instances, been the straw that broke the camel’s back, that lead to the discharge of 10+ years of pent up tension release over issues people had been holding in and NOT saying for that whole time, about what about the other had hurt or offended them prior.
But much of the underlying problem under all of this, beyond skill in being able to articulate where you’re at and what you need, and negotiate for mutually beneficial outcomes, with kindness, compassion, maturity and respect, is actually our capacity to feel safe in the world. And safe from the inside out, without needing anybody out there in the world to do anything, or change anything that THEY are doing, or remove something, in order for us to feel safe. The perception of safety is an inside job.
While many will try and influence our thinking, nobody else can actually choose to think the thoughts we think for us, that lead to us perceiving a certain situation in any given way. Let alone as threatening or not. Just as nobody else can react or respond to the incoming sensory data we receive about the world on our behalf. It is WE who have the ultimate mental/free will power to regulate both our instinctive AND consciously chosen responses. Thus, there is a skill in itself to HOW we navigate the kind of stressful and challenging external situations that we can’t change much about.
Think firefighters or ambos going into crisis situations and the measures they take to stay calm and in control. As well as the Wim Hof’s, free-divers or spiritual gurus of the world in meditation, all of whom have learned how to consciously regulate things like their body temperature, respiration rate, level of nervous system arousal or brain wave patterns, even immune responses, with conscious intent. With training and practice, I believe we are all capable of this same level of mental and physical self management.
But for the large part, nobody has taught many of us either HOW to create an internal sense of safety, without needing to turn to a parent figure, a partner, an authority figure, a mentor or teacher, or point a finger at what the government needs to do; or change in the outside world, so that we can “stay safe.“
I suspect that this year will be a breakdown and breakthrough point for many of realising that NO amount of demanding someone else, friend, work colleague, family member, the public or the government or your employer, the neighbour, that person at the mall or teenager on the bus, is ultimately going to change the amount of fear and anxiety that STILL persist in our heads AFTER someone on the outside takes action to control, block, reprimand, or remove, add something.
So as I kept working on what to include in the Say It Like It Is But Please Be Kind book and program content, as part of an answer to the last years communicating and relating problems, it quickly occurred to me just how much all of us working on helping people with improving communication in workplace and personal settings, can teach us all kind communication skills til we’ve taught the whole world. And it can STILL come undone, if we don’t address the deeper underlying problem that many are facing in the world right now, of “how do I create an internal sense of safety, and more effectively deal with my own stuff, in the face of external threats and challenges, in order to 1) create better communication outcomes 2) improve the quality of our relationships and 3) safe guard and nurture their longevity of our most important personal AND professional connections?
How we go about creating an inner sense of safety is both incredibly simple and extensively complex, depending on any given person’s sense of safety. There are 8 things we can all universally do very quickly and easily to shift our mental and physical state in as little as 30 seconds, to 30 minutes.
But then, depending on each person’s unique history and circumstance, any given “how to create internal safety” plan for each individual, and the particular strategies, tools and techniques one could draw upon to shift their state and create more internal safety, needs to be uniquely tailored to each individual, to better address the deeper reasons why they really feel anxious or fearful in the first place. And what’s really up with that.
In addition to being part of the answer to solving our bigger picture communication problems, for the Leaders and Speakers in my online groups, (thank you for your recent survey responses of late RE content for this year, very much appreciated), this also has a massive benefit for the quality of both our ability to show up in our unique presence as Leaders, our ability to be present and available in one on one communication AND our capacity to show up fully as the best versions of ourselves and bring the most of ourselves in service to our group meetings and speaking engagements.
I’d be talking about creating internal safety, dealing with our stuff, and heart centred communication in a little more depth in 2 programs, some webinars/lives and a book this year. In the interim, if you’d like to chat further about what practices, tools, techniques and strategies you can employ as a part of your own “safety is an inside job” plan, you’re most welcome to book in with me here.
Have a wonderful week.
Have fun, take care.
Nat talks about Self Expression, Heart Centred Communication and Lifestyle for Leaders.