Updated: Apr 10
In part 2 of Rules vs Guidelines, I discussed embracing positive language as a flexible guideline instead of a rigid rule. Stepping into that flexibility helps our limbic system to not become vigilant about words and allows us to be around other people without fear of hearing a word we “shouldn’t”. In today’s post I want to specifically focus on the word safe.
There have been a lot of rules around using the word safe. Many of us have been told that we should never use the word safe in our visualizations. The reason being because healthy people with well-functioning limbic systems don’t think about being safe, and saying the word safe reinforces the brain focusing on survival and safety. For some of us that may be true, but possibly not for all of us.
Over the years I have had several lengthy discussions with different clients about this, and several have shared how soothing and calming they find it to say “I feel safe” in their visualizations. They all told me that they can actually feel their nervous system relax when they say that phrase. These clients went on to share that they had never felt safe in the world or their body, and actually needed to let their brain practice what it feels like to be safe in their visualizations.
All of that is valid and sounds to me like it’s time for a guideline! Following a rule and not using a word that soothes our system doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Beyond not making sense, disavowing our own experience to “get it right” and follow the rules does not send a message of safety to the brain and nervous system. Over-riding our own inner knowing and making an authority more right than what we are actually experiencing does not help to calm the limbic system. Doing so contributes to the pattern of not trusting ourselves and the loss of confidence that is so common with limbic system impairment. We become more disconnected from ourselves and our sense of what actually does help to regulate us. This often feeds into so many of the patterns that encourage limbic system impairment such as agonizing over every decision, always looking for outside verification that we are ok and not trusting that we are smart/strong/capable enough to navigate something.
So long story short, please use the word safe if you find it soothing, calming or regulating. If you don’t find it soothing, calming or regulating to use the word safe in your visualizations, then don’t. Trust your own experience, do and say the things that create peace and stillness in your brain and nervous system. Guidelines, not rules. 😊
Connie Boczarski has been coaching clients in using neuroplasticity and other regulating resources to regain their health since 2018. Her approach with each client is to see them as an individual and help devise a plan that is responsive to their life and unique challenges. Embracing guidelines and stepping away from rules is a part of this approach. If you would like to learn more about Connie’s approach or services that she offers, please go to her website: ConnieBCoaching.com
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