Trauma Informed as a Way of Being
There’s a lot of talk about being trauma informed. And trainings. I’ve taken a lot of them.
By all means, a structured way to learn about common ways people feel safe or unsafe related to specific experiences is important.
However, I would caution anyone from getting prescriptive with this kind of information. It’s not simply a laundry list of what to do or not to do – it’s truly a way of being.
It may seem obvious to say this, but in our efforts to provide clear information sometimes the most important aspects of being trauma informed are missed.
At the core, it’s about fostering a space that feels safe. But that can mean so many things to so many people. Even the word “safe” may feel foreign for someone who’s never felt safe. This can feel so tricky at times.
When I get underneath the tangible aspects of felt safety and how that can be so varied, I always land in relationships.
If we truly want to cultivate a feeling of safety, then we need to develop presence that is warm, open and curious. This allows us to better perceive how someone is reacting to us. From there we can adjust ourselves or the environment to increase safety.
We need to embody humility – a willingness to take a risk to connect while always being open to not getting it right.
We also need to hold a sense of confidence in ourselves that we will do our best with the resources we have. If we don’t feel confident in ourselves then how safe is the other person reaching out to us for help going to feel?
Confidence also helps when we have moments of being misattuned with others. It helps us to own our part in the misattunement. From there, we can spend our energy finding a way to repair and move forward, rather than getting stuck.
None of us will get it right all the time. But if we can find a way to show up with warmth, openness, curiosity, humility and confidence this will allow us to proceed in a more attuned manner. Greater attunement helps us manifest a trauma informed way of being.