Do you have a safe place to fall? Somewhere or someone that you know will be there to catch you when life gets too much? It may not be something that you use very often but on the odd occasion that you might need to, it’s reassuring to know that the person or place is there – waiting to catch you and even carry you for awhile.
Some of you may be like me …. I rely on my safe place to fall a lot! So much so, in fact, that I actually have more than one, simply because I don’t wish to be too big a problem for one person or place. I hope that my need for a safe place to fall is becoming less necessary, due to the many areas I have been working on in my life, which tell me that progress is being made.
Unfortunately, in the last couple of weeks, I have felt like I no longer have a safe place to fall. My doctors have always been my safe place and they still are. But things have been changing for me and I have been feeling very unsettled and insecure. The changes have all been things that have been out of my control and have occurred at such a rate that it has caused me to feel as if I am free falling, without a safe place to land!
I have been trying desperately, to work out why I feel this way! Why, if I still have the same amount of therapists helping me, am I feeling so isolated and insecure? The answer came to me loud and clear, when I realised that – not one single person/health professional that is helping and guiding me on my mental and physical wellness journey now, is the same as when I began! Every single person has moved on – 2 due to pregnancies, 1 due to ill health, 1 due to promotion and 1 just up and left while I was in Berlin last month. Every single one of my safe places to fall, has vanished into thin air and I have had to constantly begin new relationships and forge new trust. Although, each new person has something worthwhile to teach me, because they were not there in the beginning when I was very poorly, I feel like the steps they are expecting me to take are often, too big! When that occurs, FAILURE becomes the word that returns to my mind and trying, can seem just too hard.
While discussing this with my Psychologist on Tuesday, she suggested that maybe I needed to look to myself to become my own safe place to fall! This sounded ludicrous when I first heard the comment. How on earth could I catch myself and soothe myself when I was at my lowest?
We began by looking at the ways I tell myself that I am doing a good job or have succeeded at achieving a goal. It was interesting for me to discover that I constantly focus on the things that I didn’t do or didn’t have success with rather than acknowledging the amazing things I have achieved. Oh sure, I give them a passing pat on the back but there is always a BUT!!! Together, we worked out that mostly, I only see things as being worthwhile when others are there to praise me or give me positive feedback! External validation is great but what I learned is that I need to believe MYSELF when I say nice things about me! In this way I can become my own safe place to fall!
This isn’t suggesting that external validation isn’t necessary or helpful – it is! But it is not always available to me when I need it the most. This is particularly, relevant because I live on my own. I didn’t ask for my husband to die 7 years ago, but that is what happened! Because of that and the simple fact that our children grow up and move away (as they should) , sometimes people are not available to me. If I could begin to give the proper credence to my own words of encouragement and care – it would be hugely helpful in giving me a new and certainly, more portable safe place to fall!
So, this is my new thing to work on! Simply to believe my own praise when I give it to myself! Believe it without a but …. added on. To recognise the good in myself and acknowledge it. Not in a loud “look at how great I am” way but rather in a “come here and listen to the helpful truth being told in this safe place to fall” way!
And just for the next few weeks, while I am learning to rely on myself a bit more …. my GP decided that he would be my safe place to fall , if I needed one, and wants to see me weekly for awhile!