To be safe, feel safety, is to be protected, unthreatened, at ease as a result. Maslow’s hierarchy of basic human needs has the safety and survival needs at the foundation. Food, warmth, without serious and present threat, those are the components of safety. When we are feeling safety we can put attention to ‘higher’ things, like mowing the lawn. Can’t do that if we have a hungry tiger roaming our backyard. Hard to concentrate
They say there is safety in numbers. Can be. Yet, many of us are feeling so alone even in a crowd. How can that be? When I go for a walk and pass people along the way I say ‘good morning’. Some cannot bring themselves to respond. Are they not feeling safe enough, not feeling part of the crowd, like they belong? What might one do? Keep offering good mornings and sure enough, one day, receiving one back
Safety can be learned. It can require courage to walk across the coals of a fire. As not at all safe as that idea can feel, people learn to do it. We can learn to respond to ‘good morning’ too. Takes about as much courage to earn the safety we seem to need. So the flip side could be that we decide what is safe. What threatens safety, in my mind, is all of it. Some of that is real and some total chimera
Safety is also about sensible precautions and staying alert. Walking alone late at night on a lowly lit street could be an invitation to get mugged (happened to me once). It is not about avoiding all things that may feel less than safe but to enter each adventure with eyes open, prepared. Running a marathon without the preparation of training is not an act of safety, and running a marathon is an exciting adventure
Safety precautions are about preserving what is valuable, life above all. Feeling safety from attack, physical, psychological. Safety leaves capacity for enjoyment of the higher levels on Maslow’s hierarchy, the arts, intellectual and spiritual growth and contribution. Contribution, giving back, is the entry point to the evolution of our species. That seems pretty important. Safety at home and at work are important.