The World As We Have Created It Is A Process Of Our Thinking. It Cannot Be Changed Without Changing Our Thinking.
– Albert Einstein
the condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk, or injury.
“they should leave for their own safety”
The very fact that the definition of safety uses the word ‘protected’ demonstrates to us that safety relies upon the action of external agencies. By this, I mean that we can only feel safe if we are in a position to place ourselves in a place that is safe- through which such a place must exist and be available- or, someone must speak or act to protect us.
The word itself is debilitating: such an interpretation could imply that we are unable to experience safety without drawing on the strength and presence of other items or people. What about the empowerment of safety where I have created such conditions on my own? Is that possible? Can we look to create safety independently of others?
If we delve a little deeper, the word safety originates pulls from the French sauvete- to safeguard, security, but also salvation- before further back, the Latin word salvus: uninjured or in good health. It is this definition in which I draw the most comfort, because it drills down to the very core of safety itself: to be undamaged, unharmed.
So often, we don’t look to damage others, but it becomes a side effect of what it means to be human. Ricocheting from one experience to the next, our mistakes become imprints on other peoples’ lives, and in turn, we do both unconsciously and inevitably threaten the safety of others. In a word, or an action, we infringe upon their place of comfort, and even with the very best of intentions, this encroachment can dismantle what it means to feel safe for them: safety of belief, safety of values, safety of purpose.
Can we even avoid this? Sometimes, no. I don’t think so. In challenging the ideas of others, thoughts and ideas must be tussled with, and again, it is what it means to be human. Perhaps this discomfort that forces us to rethink the stability of our views is in fact healthy, and part of the process of learning to be better. My only caveat will be that the words we use to challenge, debate and question others are employed with grace and integrity, so that we can endure such moments, with the intention that they do not fracture with any sense of permanence.