Safe Space for Sensitives: the prerequisite for change

As a sensitive person, it probably takes you longer to get used to new things. There’s just so many subtleties to process! So when you are faced with a lot of newness, having the old and familiar handy can be a life saver. The ugly sweater you never really liked can become a treasure, just because it is familiar.

The familiar feels safe, and the new tends to feel unsafe, that’s just how our bodies are biologically programmed. Understanding this really helps.

So as much as you may need to or want to make changes in your life…first things first. Do you have a safe space for yourself? That is, are you able to somehow, create an environment for yourself (even if it’s just 10 minutes a day) in which you feel safe?

  • Are you able to go somewhere that feels safe to you? (maybe a church or a place in the woods, a fountain in the park, an ice cream shop…)
  • Are you able to set up a spot in your home with the right “things” (e.g. music, lighting, scents)?
  • Do you have a daily time, or place or practice in which you can relax and be you without pressure?

When we think about the life we’d ideally want, we can get sidetracked into thinking that we need to make a lot of changes in order to create that for ourselves. Yet, here’s the thing:

Even if that place is a bathtub and is only available for 10 minutes a day.

We need to have at least a tiny itty bitty teeny weeny safe space to start from, to retreat to. A book could be a space like that. A song could be a space like that. A memory could be a space like that. Yet, it needs to be tangible enough that it works for you. And if you are completely remodeling your home but can keep ONE ROOM completely the same throughout, then do that! (your nervous system will thank you!). Spend some time with the friends who are still the same, sit on that parkbench with the familiar view and just for now, stick to your familiar brand of cornflakes.

It doesn’t matter how wonderful things will be, if it takes getting used to, then it can initially be incredibly stressful (a new job, diet, place, people, hobby, baby etc etc) . As a sensitive person, you need to realise that new things are just a lot more stressful for you than they are for non-sensitives.  This is no reason to hide in a corner though!

When you understand what is happening, and what you need, then you can transition into new things quite smoothly and you can explain to others why you want to eat at home instead of at a new restauarant (for example). There is a happy balance between the familiar and the new, and you want to get a sense of what that balance looks like for you, and what you can easily handle, and how!

So start with getting your personal first aid kit together. The music you know by heart, the book ýou’ve read a million times, the socks with holes, the chair that stays just how you left it…Stake out your own familiar, safe space and cherish it, it will empower you to make the changes you desire!

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