*Three Minute Read (Para leer en español, haga clic aquí)
Do you have a secret, safe place? A place where your emotions can run free without constraint? A place where you are safe to feel whatever you are feeling, good or bad? A place you don’t have to explain what you’re feeling but can simply feel?
I first discovered my secret, safe place many years ago. I was struggling in nearly every way and had minimal time to myself. I also didn’t yet have the words to explain what was happening or what I was feeling. I held my emotions tightly inside only letting them out once a week with my therapist. And that coping mechanism could only work for so long until slowly my emotions began seeping out in other ways.
They started seeping out in the shower. There was something about the water washing over me that felt not only cleansing to my body but also to my soul and my heart. And it was almost automatic. The water had all of the power to immediately unlock my tears, fears, and hurt. And once the water turned off, so did that side of me.
In the shower I felt safe. I felt protected. I could cry, think, feel in whatever way I needed without having to explain what I was feeling or what might have been happening in my mind. The pulsing water wrapped around me like armor and I’d cry until I couldn’t cry any more. And then I would emerge as a new person ready to face the world again.
I washed away my difficult feelings in the shower each day. And I’d envision my emotions washing down the drain with my tears and the water. It allowed me to let go of things in a way I had not previously experienced. The water felt powerful.
For a long time, a buzz word in the organizational culture world was “safe space.” People talked about creating work environments and cultures that were psychologically safe for staff members to feel comfortable allowing them to bring their authentic selves to work. But even in emotionally safe environments, bravery and courage are required from the individual to truly show up as their authentic selves.
When I talk about the organizational culture at LUNA, I say we try to create more than a safe space. We try to create brave and courageous spaces. Places that are not only intended to be safe for individuals to share their authentic selves, but also spaces that empower and honor the bravery and courage often required to do so. LUNA can create the environment, but the individual is still required to play their part in the space provided. And as an organization we honor and celebrate their effort.
Although I no longer need my secret, safe space in the shower as frequently, it still comes in mighty handy at times. When I’m feeling overwhelmed, stressed, exhausted, or unstable, it’s one of the tools that helps me cope. But I also now know it’s not the water that holds the power. It’s my courage to step into the water that is the catalyst for change.
By being brave and courageous enough to truly feel and understand my emotions, the water has the power to feel like a warm blanket wrapping me in feelings of love and support rather than a defensive shell of armor.
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Stevie Cromer is the Cultural and Enrichment Manager for LUNA Language Services. Stevie regularly provides engaging content to LUNA’s team to encourage a culture of care within our own LUNA family. For more suggestions and resources about how you might build a culture of care throughout your organization, please reach out to Stevie at stevie@LUNA360.com.