safe space

Every Space Is Not A Safe Space

Recently while rewatching New Girl for the third time, I came across a pearl of wisdom from our man Nick Miller: "If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."

But wait, how can someone who is studying psychology agree with this nugget of wisdom?

We have to communicate! Everything must be shared! 

Well yes… and no.

While it's a great idea to communicate and be comfortable in what you’re feeling, it’s important to note the ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘with whom’ you share your feelings. Remember: every space is not a safe space!

As much as we’d all love the idea of being understood and supported by people around us, unfortunately that isn't the reality. So when we rant/vent on the internet and end up finding support that we never thought we would, we also leave ourselves open to the risk of being berated, misunderstood or worse, bullied for what we have shared.

I know, it sucks but it's important to realize that our inner worlds - thoughts, feelings, and ideas - are unique and valuable and not everyone, especially strangers may see that. Acknowledging this value means realizing that not everybody is going to have the privilege of knowing them. So when we look for a resolution for our feelings by expressing them on the internet or venting to a stranger, we may not get the response we desire. 

A therapy room (or  any other relationship) you may have discovered to be a safe space (sometimes through simple trial & error) are spaces that you can rely on. Sometimes, your relationships may not be safe spaces (at certain times) because there’s a human being on the other end that is just as flawed as you are. Here’s a pointer, asking if they are in the headspace to listen before you vent always helps. It’s the same with therapists, they are flawed (or sometimes, not the right match for you) but that doesn't have to mean therapy isn't the right choice for you. 

This doesn't go to say that you should build walls around your feelings; in fact,  expressing them in a healthy way is always a good idea. It's usually not the end goal but a great starting point. We run the risk of rationalizing when we usually just stop at this stage and can’t move past it even when we want to. It's a comfortable space to be in because it makes us feel good in the moment but things quickly go south when the feelings of discomfort resurface. 

Just remember one thing in the end: sometimes, talking is a step in the process that can help you move forward instead of being stuck there.

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Our team is constantly learning, discussing and understanding human behaviour. We love understanding what makes people tick and identifying useful strategies to help them during sticky times.