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You are the safe space

The expression ”holding a safe space” is being used a lot these days in workshop descriptions, probably with the best intentions of wanting to create a safe space for all participants.

The problem with this is that a ”safe space” means something different to every participant, depending on their level of experience, ability to express their boundaries and capacity to hold themselves in discomfort.

As a workshop leader I can make up the most thought through consent agreements and take all the safety measures, yet some participants will still not experience the space as being safe.

Why? Because our sense of safety is directly linked to our level of nervous system activation, which constantly changes and differs from person to person.

Each nervous system is unique and carries our individual trauma, so what triggers an activation is also unique to each individual.

Your triggers are there to protect you from repeating your past hurt / trauma, what your nervous system perceives as unsafe is unique to your life story.

So even if I have the intention of holding a safe space for everyone, I cannot ensure that everyone will feel safe in the space.

What it comes down to is: I can not hold a safe space for you.

When I claim that I can I actually disempower you, through taking responsibility for your safety instead of empowering you to take self-responsibility.

With that I mean the true meaning of the word: respons - ability, the ability to respond.

When you are in an activated state your nervous system activates your survival instincts, coping mechanisms and social strategies - disenabling you to respond logically or empathically in the situation you are in.

When you are in an activated state your inner state feels unsafe, which your nervous system projects on your surroundings.

Only when you can create a safe space within yourself, outside spaces become truly safe. This is why I do not claim to hold a safe space for you.

I can hold a space that is trauma informed, meaning I create the space with the nervous system in mind through giving it many opportunities to regulate and limiting potentially triggering situations.

I can hold a space that helps you create a sense of safety from within through inviting you to feel and express your embodied boundaries.

I can hold a space that helps you feel more safe in a group setting through building trust together in heart opening sharing.

I can hold a brave space, inviting you to try out new healing relational experiences that you couldn’t have on your own that then ripple out from the workshop into all areas of your life.

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