He explains how to:
* Increase your inner strength and confidence.
* Maintain a calm body, open heart and generous mind.
* Manage crises with courage and grace.
* Protect yourself from negativity.
* Make others feel safe and secure.
* Be a positive influence for a better world.
This is an excerpt from Chapter One
THE NEED FOR SAFETY
Recognising that feeling safe is the foundation for true success and personal development
You may be familiar with the experiments in which baby monkeys were removed from their mothers shortly after birth. They were given the best possible food and nutrients. They were kept in a perfect temperature. But they were left alone most of the time, cut off from the warmth and nurture of their mothers and families.
These little creatures did not develop well. This traumatic beginning affected the whole of their lives. They were uncertain of themselves and easily frightened. Their big lost eyes were haunted with a need for reassuring comfort. They suffered mood swings, their behaviour moving between timid and aggressive. They had great difficulty fitting into their society.
Feeling insecure, these monkeys were unable to develop normally. It is the same with people when they lack the foundation of physical and psychological security.
Have you looked in someoneâ€™s eyes when they are frightened or anxious? Traumatised and shocked, people are diminished. Watch people emerging from a tragic crash or disaster. They are smaller, frail, bewildered.
On a less dramatic scale, look into the eyes of someone who has just been rejected or not achieved what they wanted or expected. I watched a businessman coping with the loss of a deal that he had worked on for many months. His jaw jutted. His shoulders were pulled back. He strutted. He was aggressive. But his eyes were wide and defensive. Psychologically, he had temporarily collapsed and a little boy who had lost his security blanket was revealed beneath all the macho wheeling and dealing.
This is the great problem that so few people appreciate. When people experience a lack of safety â€“ no matter what front they present to the world â€“ they are unable to deal effectively with life. Something collapses within. Watch a child frightened by a bully; he shrinks. Watch an adult sensing that a party or bar or night club is not his place; he too will shrink. Workers faced with information overload are reduced from confident and creative productivity to a frozen inertia. A tourist enters an historic place that has a foreboding and haunted atmosphere, and he too will stop uncertain whether to move forward. Some people will sense a wave of dread as a global political situation moves towards awful conflict. People who are abused and traumatised literally shrink and freeze.
The world â€“ especially the human world â€“ is not a safe place, so what is the best way to handle it? The answer surely is to build up your own inner sense of safety. In this way, no matter what is happening around you, you have a stable base from which to operate. You can comfort and reassure any insecure monkeys you have within you, and you can face the world with reassurance and goodwill.
When people have this core safety, they feel confident and good, able to move with freedom and a positive attitude. Happy, truly successful and fulfilled people feel safe. They are able to handle the challenges and crises of life, and they are a supportive and encouraging blessing to the people around them.
The whole of this book is dedicated to helping you build that enduring and authentic state within yourself.
The Foundation of Personal Development
Feeling safe is one of the foundations of a normal, happy and fulfilling life. You simply cannot get on with the basic business of living if you feel insecure, frightened or anxious.
People need shelter, food and clothing just as a starting point for their security. It is tragically obvious that you cannot begin to grow into your full potential if you are worried about where the next meal is coming from or if you and your family might die. Those who live in war, famine and disaster zones, those who live in dangerous societies, they have no choice but to give all their energy to the stark reality of survival. Worse, some people have been so injured that they have no where to focus except on their own wounds and trauma. There is no time and no resources for the more profound purposes of human life â€“ the search for meaning and fulfilment, spiritual growth, personal development, love and the bettering of the human and global condition.
But fear, anxiety and trauma are not only created by physical threat. People also need a core of psychological security. If, for example, you feel that you have no acceptable social identity, this can be as threatening as having a revolver held to your head. This is not a shallow affair. Some people, when they lose their jobs or their money or their status, prefer to end their lives than live without their previous sense of identity. They would rather die than lose their status. Whenever there is a financial slump, suicides increase. Men with families and good physical health die. People with no inner foundation collapse into shame and confusion.
Then there is the psychological threat that comes from being the target of prejudice â€“ an outsider. It is impossible to feel safe when the people with whom you live and work do not accept you. It is exhausting and debilitating. The target of prejudice â€“ because of race or gender or disability â€“hostility and threat are always there, seen and unseen.
To feel safe is the natural bedrock of a human beingâ€™s healthy development. Without that safety, there is ongoing nervousness â€“ conscious and unconscious â€“ and your ongoing behaviour can be hijacked, for example, by deep personality traits of bombast or victimisation. Bullies and braggarts are always psychologically insecure; as are those who whinge or manipulate. Without a sense of safety, there is no vitality or fuel for balanced growth and success. Your energy drains away through endless tension and maintaining postures of aggression or defence.
Even when people achieve material success and social status, there is no guarantee that they will lose their tension and find psychological security. According to recent research, materialistically successful people, for example, experience more nightmares than less driven folk. Accumulating wealth, possessions and power may create more threat and anxiety for an insecure person who has a need to control â€“ there is just more stuff now to regulate. Look at the control freaks you know. Be aware of your own need to control. Its source is a lack of inner safety.
Success often camouflages fear and, even worse, stimulates feelings of anxiety. Equally, powerful physical protection may not do the job. Fortresses, castles, weapons, bodyguards, and all the martial and self-defence arts do not make insecure people feel secure.
The world is a dangerous place in too many ways. And people are insecure in so many ways.
The purpose of this book therefore is to help everyone develop an authentic internal sense of safety regardless of life circumstances â€“ rich or poor, status or no status, peace or conflict. This kind of internal security comes from an inner strength and wisdom. It is a permanent part of your character. It is also a positive trait for the community around you. It makes other people feel safe too. It is great to have neighbours, colleagues and friends who are solid. They are the ones we turn to in crisis.
On the streets, if someone is called â€˜safeâ€™ it is a sign of approval and acceptance. It means that person is cool and has a positive presence. The safe person stays calm and intelligent â€“ and knows when and when not to act. You are cool, but not coldly detached. Observant, but not a hostile witness. You do not stand by when someone is being bullied or hurt. Your presence has strength, even warmth. There is something about you that is watchful, careful and encouraging. You are good to have around.
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