I am often amazed at the power of the human brain and its ability to store information for long periods of time and how related ideas and thoughts can unlock past forgotten stories. This happened recently to me when I was preparing for a Safe Brave Circle session that included an exercise where we unearthed meaningful experiences within safe brave spaces.
As I reviewed the definitions of safe and brave, a vivid, detailed memory was revealed to me: my earliest experience of enabling my personal safe brave space.
Throughout My Childhood, I Was Sometimes Bullied
It is first important to provide some context. Throughout my childhood, I was sometimes bullied. My innately caring and optimistic nature combined with a deeper connection to emotions set me as a prime target for those that saw these things as weaknesses. During the prep for the session, one episode of bullying came rushing back into my conscious.
I was around five or six years old, and I remember a neighbour calling me names, pushing me around while others laughed, many uncomfortably, perhaps afraid they may be next. My confidence shattered and my body scratched, I ran back to my house.
As I entered the back door, I ran into my mom. She was coming in from the backyard, and in this moment I experienced the framework which I would later label in my book as ‘enabling safe brave spaces’.
How My Mom Created A Safe Space And Enabled My Brave
I see enabling safe as creating an environment that allows the others to pause, to settle, to stabilize and to reconnect. To trust and have confidence in their unique gifts and contributions to the world.
As a young boy who had just been humiliated in front of his friends, I definitely needed first to be safe. My mother masterfully modelled creating safe by first settling me physically by kneeling down and giving me a hug. No words, just a clear example of being fully present with me and calming my mind and heart storms.
As I settled, she slowly pulled back, looked directly into my eyes and calmly inquired as to what had happened. As I shared, she listened, asked questions and empathized with my situation. I felt heard and understood, immediately boosting my safe.
She then quietly reminded me of who I was and why she loved me: my caring heart, my optimistic nature and my belief in others. With each word, my personal safe grew stronger. She then shifted to enabling my brave.
Continuing to look deep and lovingly into my eyes she said, ‘you know you need to go back out’. I knew this to be true and even as my safe dipped, my mother began equipping me with strategies to re-engage and reconnect with the kids. With these ideas, she gave me another stabilizing hug and nudged me towards the door.
Enabling my brave required suggesting a pathway that wasn’t easy, however, when combined with tools and strategies, was possible. One final thing I discovered about enabling safe brave spaces that day occurred as I walked down the driveway towards the kids. Looking over my shoulder I saw the curtain of the living room window pull back and my mother watching over me as I entered back into the fray. The last piece of the puzzle, ongoing support, fueled my brave further to enable re-entry and a deeper level of potential and impact.
A Straightforward Approach I Learned From This Story
As I reflected on this story, which I shared for the first time during our Safe Brave Circle session, it struck me how straight-forward my mom’s approach was and how I had an opportunity to provide this in each of my interactions. Recognizing the times when I can enable safe, being fully present, helping to create those pause moments and reminding others of the gifts they bring and the contributions that they are making.
Seeing and activating brave including having difficult conversations, providing insights and tools and standing with others as they step into situations and conversations that may be difficult and scary.
One Last Insight
I hope to see these moments to enable safe brave spaces for others when I myself feel both safe and brave. When I am safe and brave, I am more mindful, open and present to those around me. I am less interested in telling and more interested in listening.
It is within these quiet spaces that each of us remembers who we are and what we need to do. Enabling safe brave spaces is often simply creating the environment for these discoveries.
I hope this helped you on your journey to discovering your unique purpose, gifts and contribution!
If you would like to learn more about Safe Brave Circles please visit: https://www.safebravespaces.com/support and look into Safe Brave Circles.