It is among the basic needs on Maslow’s hierarchy – just above those physiological needs of food, water, warmth and rest.
We tend to think first of physical safety, but there are many other forms. Consider the following questions:
Do you feel safe from disease?
Do you feel safe from natural disasters?
Do you feel safe from losing your job?
Do you feel like you can safely pay your rent or mortgage?
Do you feel safe from other financial hardship?
Do you feel your healthcare is safe?
Do you feel safe to speak up to your boss, client or anyone in your life?
Do you feel safe in your home or neighborhood?
Do you feel safe when you are pulled over by a police officer?
Do you feel safe to be indoors with large crowds of people?
Do you feel safe from discrimination?
Do you feel it is safe to vote?
Do your rights feel safe?
Does our democracy feel safe right now?
This list could go on and on. If you’re fortunate, you will have answered yes to most if not all of these questions.
Now imagine how it would feel if you answered no to three or five or ten of them.
Feeling safe provides us with the necessary security, stability and sense of control in our lives that make everything else possible. It is hard, if not impossible, to pursue our dreams or become the best versions of ourselves, if our daily lives are marked by feeling unsafe, insecure or beyond our control. Safety is a precursor to trust, belonging, and happiness. Without it, all that is good in life becomes less accessible.
While some of feeling safe comes from within, it is reinforced by our family, friends and importantly by our society and institutions. When one of those providers of safety is lacking, it becomes incumbent upon others to pick up the baton and when possible do what we can to make others feel safe and secure.
What could you be doing to make others feel safe now?