Two of our primal instincts as humans are to connect and protect. We need safety and intimacy, closeness and security, breathing alone and breathing with others. Some people need connection first in order to feel safe, while others need to feel safety first in order to connect.
Your body’s nervous system is like a highly sensitive internal security system – scanning the environment for potential threat or danger. At times this security system goes into overdrive and is not easily quieted.
Trauma impacts your ability to connect and your need to protect yourself. Often these two impulses are in direct opposition to one another, which not only sends mixed messages to other people, but can create somatic conflict in your body. It’s a bit like grinding gears while driving a stick shift car and trying to brake at the same time.
Having a regular mindful awareness practice can help you fine tune your connect drive and your protect drive. This can be as simple as noticing your breathing to cultivate a felt sense of safety and security in your physical body. (there are other ways too)
- What does safety feel like in your body?
- How do you create safety for yourself?
- How do you connect with yourself?
- How do you connect with others?
- What does connection feel like in your body?
- What emotions do you notice while reading this?
- Set an intention for yourself.