What Makes You Feel Safe?
This question came up recently in our online Inquiry Circle group. Two participants engaged in an emotional exchange in response to a perceived derogatory comment. One of them appealed to the comment guidelines, hoping that they would serve as protection so we can feel safe when commenting in the group.
The comment guidelines we have in place actually do support us all for feeling safe in the group. They set the bar. That is why they are there. To remind us of the ideals of communicating. When everyone is following the guidelines, there is a sense of safety in the group.
But is this real safety?
This Case Brought up a Really Important Distinction
Any safety that depends on something outside of myself is not true safety. Because that outside thing can never be fail-safe. Comment guidelines can be transgressed, governmental policies can be changed, money can be lost, health can deteriorate, lovers can leave, silence can be interrupted.
If my safety depends on anything outside of me, then I’m really not safe at all. I just believe I’m safe. And I get angry or afraid if my illusion of safety ever gets disturbed.
Outside Safety Is another Word for Control
I love control. I live a very disciplined, controlled life. And it works for me in many ways. But control is no substitute for inner peace.
If I’m rigid about my control then I’m unable to handle the unexpected. I run away from life in the interest of staying safe instead of adjusting to life as it changes.
What Is True Safety?
True safety is the ability to handle anything. If I can handle anything that comes my way, then I’m free.
And that’s why I love The Work of Byron Katie. Because it gives me a way to question my thinking, to adjust my point of view, until I can find peace no matter what is happening.
It is my favorite tool for finding safety even in the midst of apparent danger.
So I Invited the Inquiry Circle Participants to do The Work
For me, this is preferable to depending on authority to resolve a conflict.
The Work is here to catch us whenever we fall into stressful thinking. It allows us each to find our own peace. This is very different than an authority figure mediating a conflict resolution.
The Way I See it, We Are all Equals in Inquiry Circle
We are all here to do The Work. The guidelines continue to remind of us an ideal way to interact. But I don’t see my role as “enforcer” of guidelines.
Whenever someone doesn’t follow a guideline, we are all welcome to give feedback to that person. But the real work begins when we do our own worksheets on what triggered us. This is where true safety can be found.
Even with guidelines we cannot control everyone. The question is, “How can I find my own safety even when I can’t control what others do?”
The Work helps me find safety in any situation.
Have a great weekend,
“What had happened? I knew one thing: I was safe. I knew that I could stand over that rope for a thousand years and never be frightened of it again. I felt such gratitude and ease. The entire world could come upon this snake, scream, run away, have heart attacks, scare themselves to death–and I could just remain here fearlessly, and pass on the good news. I would understand people’s fears, see their pain, hear their stories about why it really is a snake, and yet there would be no way that I could believe them or be frightened of that rope. I had fallen into the simple truth: That snake is a rope.” Byron Katie, I Need Your Love, Is That True?
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