One of the first steps of healing trauma seems to be telling your story. One of the essentials for telling your story is creating a safe space. How do you create a safe space?
For me, it seems like safe spaces just happen. I know that it’s an illusion that they just happen, but it feels like it. What do you think are the most important qualities of safe space? Here’s my list:
- Calm, quiet physical space. A loud restaurant is not a safe space for me. Just today, I was eating in a loud restaurant with screaming children, and I thought I would jump out of my skin. I get into sensory overload very quickly, especially if I’m trying to be serious.
- Trust in the other person(s). That’s kind of a “no-duh,” isn’t it? I have to open up to someone slowly, and know that he or she isn’t going to judge me.
- Silence. You know when you have that uncomfortable babbling in conversation? I need to have the opposite of that. Comfortable silence. I need that silence to settle my thinking, especially if I’m overwhelmed.
- A common purpose. Somehow that space has to be infused with a mutual purpose.
So it’s okay to create that sort of space for a short term, like happened in the weekend of HROC. But what about creating it for a long term?
That’s church. With a calm, quiet physical space, trusting relationships, room for silence, and a common purpose, churches can be a safe place. Maybe not all the time, but sometimes.