She gets out of a freezing cold lake, and welcomes the cozy towel and melts into my lap, without a care in the world.
Boom. Instant safety. Instant security. Instant certainty that she is loved.
Ahh, to be young again. And to effortlessly access that safe space. That certainty. That ease.
If only we could call upon big cozy beach towels and our mother’s unconditional love when anxiety goes into overdrive.
Unfortunately, kids become adults and they get more complex and nuanced because life has gotten more confusing. And along the way to becoming an adult, people have surprised and disappointed us by hurting us. Your high school boyfriend cheated on you. Your college boyfriend broke up with you because the idea of you moving across the country for him was too much pressure. The guy you swore you had an instant (love at first sight!) connection with, ghosts on you. Your (ex) husband disappointed you in ways your young heart (and mind) wasn’t able to come back from. You disappointed yourself each time you mishandled another person’s heart. You didn’t get the job you were certain you deserved (more than once).
Wait, that all happened to me! Some had it better than that. Some had it worse. So, we learned to keep our hearts close and not love so freely.
Which means we need more to feel safe, cozy and loved.
Here are some simple things we can do to find the way back to a peace of mind we once inhabited as children.
- A nap
- A meditation / prayer (reminding us that you are loved by something bigger, even when regular old human beings have disappointed us)
- A vulnerable conversation with a trusted friend
- A good cry to purge the pain
- A walk with an old friend who knows you and loves you anyway (and you don’t even have to talk about anything!)
- Your own space (Virginia Woolf was on to something when she said everyone needed a room of one’s own)
- A live music show (connecting with strangers over a shared love is powerful)
- Being responsible for and loving a pet (and being loved unconditionally by a pet!)
- Money (Yep, I’m gonna go there. No, money can’t buy happiness, BUT it does allow for more ease & freedom of choice. Freedom, people.)
- even three simple breaths (in and out the nose) can send a signal to the nervous system that you are safe, and allow you to relax
What makes you feel safe and sound?