What Is a Safe Space and Why Do We Crave It?

I very purposely named my business Safe Space Life Coaching. Why? Because all beings require a safe space to be exactly who they essentially are. We as humans have put walls up consciously or unconsciously. We have barriers. We only let people so close. Why? Because we fear being judged. We fear people discovering who we really are because somehow we perceive that we are not good enough.

Nancy Kalina

So, a safe space is a space or relationship where you as an individual feel absolutely comfortable and secure to express your innermost thoughts, feelings, fears and discoveries. Wow! How awesome is that? When I think about what a gift it is to simply offer a safe space for people, I am struck at how astounding that is. If you choose to be a safe space for the people in your life, you are saying, “Come. Be yourself. Be honest. Feel free to tell me what you really think of my cooking and everything will be fine.” See, we often don’t tell people what we really think because we are afraid of hurting someone’s feelings and/or we are afraid that the relationship will change as a result of the communication.

How terribly sad that we go around placating each other on a regular basis. How sad that fear prevents people from showing up as who they truly are. Instead of showing up, we and the people we interact with hide behind a mask. Many times our best friends, parents and, yes, even our partners, spouses and we ourselves don’t know the person behind the mask. Hence, many of us crave a place where we can be exactly who we are without the fear of being judged.

Please note that being a safe space for others is a conscious and intentional thought and action. It does not just happen and it is not easy! If you want to create a safe space for your kids, your parents, your partners, your classroom, your patients, etc., you as an individual need to be intentional with your communications. For example, don’t expect others to think that you are a safe space if you tend to roll your eyes when other people share their wildest dreams. If you are someone who tends not to listen to others or ask others how they are, you are not a safe space. The message that you emit says that you don’t care about others. So, simply being curious about other people sends the message of genuine interest.

Care to make a commitment to always be a safe space for the people within your life? We can commit to being present and non-judgmental. We can commit to listening to people when they tell us that they are gay or that they don’t believe in God or that they want to quit their job of 30 years with benefits to go back to school to learn how to do landscape design. We won’t abandon a relationship when a friend needs to discuss how they felt a violation of the relationship had occurred. We will listen, share our feelings, and, hopefully, resolve our differences and allow the relationship to grow stronger than ever before. That is what happens. We do not feel closest to people when we hide bits and pieces about ourselves. Our strongest relationships occur when honesty is welcomed and/or transgressions have occurred, have been brought up for discussion and have been resolved with dignity.

Take a moment and ask yourself, “Am I a safe space for all the people in my life?” Do I really listen to what my friends have to say? Do I look up from the computer, television or newspaper to listen to someone? Do I listen to other people’s points of view with an open mind? Do I allow people to grow beyond how I have come to know them, or do I want them to always stay the same? It takes courage to ask yourself these questions. It takes even more courage to answer them honestly.

A safe space is a wonderful gift to give and to receive. In some ways, there is no greater gift. When you are in a safe space, in essence you are being told, “I respect you and all you have to share.” Don’t we all want that? Wouldn’t all our relationships greatly improve if we all committed to being a safe space for the people in our lives? What’s holding you back then? Go out and listen, truly listen to the people in your life. You will be amazed at the richness that you will reap as well from providing this gift to others.


Sharing Corner

While this may be dated for some, I still must share. My partner, Kim, and I went to see the Cirque Du Soleil Show “Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour!” Wow is all I can say! Now, you need to know that Kim and I are Cirque Du Soleil fans in general. We have seen many of their shows either in person or on television. However, we did not know what to expect with a show that was quite simply a tribute to the life and vision of Michael Jackson. I was and still am a Michael Jackson fan. I have memories of dancing to the music of the Jackson 5 when I was growing up. I remember being in my college dorm my freshman year when they released the video “Thriller” for the first time. The one TV (down in the basement of the dorm) was packed with people. This man brought the world many wonderful moments, unlimited memories and immense joy. This quiet soul who came alive on stage was a gift to us all. “The Immortal World Tour” certainly shows and tells us how much Michael cared about the world and the beings in it. He knew that changes needed to be made. He challenged us to be better human beings. He was aware that the change needed to heal the world needs to come from all of us individually. This show is a true tribute to his spirit. I would encourage you all to see it when it comes your way.

Additionally, I have to add that while I love all of Michael’s music, the song “Man in the Mirror” will always hold a special place in my heart.

If you watch this, you have to agree with me that people responded strongly to Michael’s message. Michael encouraged peace, love and the treatment all beings and the planet with respect and dignity — a message that still lives on through his music, videos and all the memories that he created.

“In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.”

- Michael Jackson


Take the time to watch one of my favorite slideshows, listen to the music and take in the message. Think of it as a personal moment for you that you highly deserve. Without further ado … another Ralph Marston creation!


‘Til next time,
Nancy Kalina

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