I know what my love language is. Actually, I’ve just reconsidered. I always assumed it was words, because words are my thing, but I think it might be gifts. Are we allowed to change languages mid-life? Recently, this crossed my field and it felt important, and worth sharing. The Routes of Safety is a tool developed by Jake Ernst, who’s insta-shared material I’ve posted here before because I find it quite helpful. It centres safety as the desired state – from a sense of safety, there’s so much we can do… But we all have different pathways for feeling safety. If we work in any way with other people – as teachers, facilitators, managers, creative collaborators, care-givers, doctors, partners, parents – it feels helpful to understand that there are different “routes of travel to arrive at a feeling of safety within ourselves and in our relationships.” Getting to a feeling of safety strikes me as getting to ground zero – that’s the foundation we need to start from to do any kind of learning, collaborative, creating or healing. I loved looking through this list of pathways and imagining which of the people I most admire, and feel safe with, fit where.
Two years ago I started to watch how we were all experiencing this period of collective change and massive upheaval. I felt how it affected me and I noticed how it impacted others around me.
I developed The Routes of Safety model two years ago as a tool and roadmap to help us explore the pathways we take in what I’d later come to call our collective experience of safety-seeking. We all have different routes of travel we use to arrive at a feeling of safety within ourselves and in our relationships. And here’s what I found: There are no bad routes.
A similar roadmap I knew about was the Love Languages but it always felt incomplete. It just didn’t fully capture the depth of our experience. It wasn’t rooted in what I knew to be a core human need — safety. It didn’t acknowledge our common need for safety in ourselves and our loving relationships.
Safety is paramount to being well and feeling well. Feeling safe, safer, and safe enough is essential to our survival. Observing these patterns in myself and others, I made a roadmap and toolkit for ways we arrive at feeling safe. This is the Routes of Safety model.
Throughout the last two years I’ve nurtured this model. I’ve received numerous emails and messages from curious and passionate people. I spent the last two years speaking with students, professors, clinicians, parent groups, advocacy tables, and all of you about what this work means. I’ve travelled the world virtually and I have learned so much from each experience. This model is mine and it is also ours. I have personally watched how our conversations about safety have shifted drastically this past year.
I am grateful to have brought this into the world at a moment in time where we have truly learned what it means to be safe and feel safe. Alone and with others. Together and separate. With and without each other.
This model taught me how deeply we need each other. We need to be connected to someone and something to feel safe, safer, and safe enough. Thank you for showing up to this work with me. We will continue talking about it. If you want to do something good in the world, we can start by making people feel more safe