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Safe with Yourself, Safe with the World

Morgan RobinsonMorgan Robinson
December 15, 2022
youB member since 2022
9 publications
Values this work is based on:
Purpose: Getting in touch with your own safety and security responses to better face the world and help others.
3m Read

Safety and security are key elements to living fully. They are closely tied to love and belonging and to true allyship. Being an ally to both yourself and others. When safety and security are stripped from your life, it’s hard to see a future, to see your value in the present.

Some of the work being done to maintain or restore safety and security to our lives is the Protective Behaviours Process. It’s a way to encourage and develop self-confidence and the skills that help us avoid being victimized.

Peg West, Donna Fortin, and Joan Levy originated the Protective Behaviours process in Wisconsin during the 1970s. It is based on two themes:

  • We all have the right to feel safe all the time
  • We can talk with someone about anything, even if it feels awful or small

There are seven strategies in the process that frame the actions of safety:

  • Use one-step removed approaches to find solutions
  • Review personal networks to ensure reliability
  • Use persistence in taking necessary action to feel safe again
  • Risk on purpose as needed
  • Protectively interrupt in unsafe or potentially unsafe situations
  • Observe the language of safety for ourselves and with others
  • Use the Language of Safety

To consider these techniques, we need to identify the difference between being safe and feeling safe. Being safe means we are not at all at risk of danger. Feeling safe means that we are not anticipating danger. We can certainly feel at risk when we are not actually at risk based on our own lived experiences.

As part of the protective behaviors process, we need to tune into our bodies to identify our reactions to perceived risk:

  • Early warning signs
  • Physical response
  • Gut feeling

Safety and security are very personal. Only we know what safety feels like. Only we can identify our gut warnings. Honor your body’s response and listen. The elements of safety & fear/danger are on a continuum; nothing is black and white.

Cynthia Loy Darst has an excellent talk on the subject:


She explores the idea that if we are safe with ourselves, we are safe in the world.

She also talks about how we bully ourselves and how to quell that mean voice. She recommends:

  • Turn toward the negative
  • Become curious about the mean voice
  • Listen for 2% truth
  • Find common ground with your inner voice
  • Create a new way to partner with the bullying side of ourselves.

Once you find your own safety and quiet your inner meanie, perhaps you can reach out to others and help them find security within.

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