Safety is above the Physiological level on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Keeping our bodies in good physiological repair is one thing, but keeping them clear of harm is another matter entirely.
Our day-to-day sense of personal safety is entrenched in the factors of where we live and who live among. “Where we live” pertains to our neighborhoods and actual dwellings. “Who we live among” pertains to our neighbors and actual fellow home inhabitants.
But no matter who we are or where we are, one thing that’s for certain is the less money we’re in proximity to, the less safe we will be. As with the Physiological factor, finance bears a powerful influence here.
The Poverty Cycle
In poverty-stricken areas like the one where I’m from (Detroit), instability hangs in the air like a thick fog. And just like fog, it impairs people’s senses. People can’t always think – or even see – with ample sharpness. As a result, distrust and desperation loom large. Where these dark emotions dwell, drugs, alcohol, violence, impulsiveness, and bad judgment are never far away. People turn to chemical bliss. People turn to acts of crime and violence. Sometimes they take their violent impulses out to the streets, but in an alarming amount of cases, they keep it hidden behind closed doors. Oftentimes, those with whom they dwell would like to leave, but that old standard of finances keeps them from having the leverage to walk away. Given the choice between starvation and abuse, victims often choose more abuse – and the cycle goes on.
What’s important when it comes to addressing Safety, first and foremost, is being mindful of it in the first place. One’s concept of Safety is directly tied to one’s concept of Dignity. In other words, when behaving in ways that keep us safe, we are saying, “We are worthy. We are valuable. We deserve our lives!”
Likewise, Safety should always be contextualized in terms of our mortality. Anything that’s a little unsafe can be a lot unsafe. If it threatens to hurt us, it can threaten to kill us. The reason I encourage this frame of mind is because I believe that NO lack of safety is worth tolerating, ignoring, or brushing under the rug. The spouse who gives you bruises can someday break your bones – or worse. The alleyway where you get grim stares could someday be the last place you ever find yourself walking.
Safety must be consciously attended to, and its opposite must never be tolerated, even for a moment. Of critical importance is the fact that even if we FEEL unsafe – even if only for that one moment – we should act on that feeling, because more times than not, it’s entirely sane and justified.
Whenever under unsafe circumstances, we should relocate, whether that means leaving the room or leaving the state. Defending and/or arming ourselves are temporary measures, and ones that can (literally in some cases) backfire. Seeking higher ground is always the wisest course.
The more financial resources we have, the easier our physical journey will be. Community resources can be powerful resources, in their own way, as financial ones. If you’re unsafe, nothing provides safety better and faster than the presence of people whom you love and trust.
And those are the ones you should be seeking to spend your time with.