Stephen Porges: If you want to improve the world

 

If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safer.

– Stephen Porges

What happens when we feel unsafe? We go into survival mode and tend to think mostly about ourselves or a small circle of family and friends. It may fuel us vs. them thinking, blame, radicalism, and even violence.

What happens when people feel safer? In general, we relax, can function better, and have a larger circle of concern. It tends to encourage we-thinking and a bigger picture view.

What are some things that will help people feel safer?

What can we do at a social level? A good start may be universal healthcare. Good social safety nets. Trauma informed teachers, doctors, and parents. Reduced economic inequality. Reduced poverty.

And what can we do as individuals, for ourselves? A good start is to explore how to be a safe place for the parts of us that don’t feel safe. Give love to the parts of us that feel unloved or unlovable. Listen to the parts that has not been listened to. Be there for the parts we have run away from.

Stephen Porges: If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safer.

 
If you want to improve the world, start by making people feel safer. – Stephen Porges
This is so simple and so essential. Since I am from Scandinavia, I feel that good social safety nets are crucial for helping people feel safer and through that reduce a lot of other individual, social, and even ecological problems. When we feel safer, we are able to broaden our circle of concern, keep the larger picture in mind, and act in a more sane and sensible way.

Finding safety in understanding

 

Finding safety in understanding is a big one for me.

That’s partly why I write here. It makes me feel I understand something, and it makes me feel safe and OK.

It’s true that some understanding can be helpful, in a practical sense. And yet, it can also be used to avoid feeling something, and look at apparently painful thoughts.

Right now, what would I have to feel if I didn’t write here? If I didn’t go to my understanding? Feel that.

What am I afraid would happen if I didn’t understand X?

I would be lost. Scared. Confused. Aimless. I wouldn’t know how to live my life. I wouldn’t know how to feel better. I would be miserable. Alone. In a dark hole.

Can you find X? Understanding? The one who understands? If you sift through images, words, sensations, can you find X?