Safety is a Bad Word

What is safety? The dictionary tells us this:

the condition of being safe from undergoing or causing hurt, injury, or loss

Naturally, we all want to be safe, feel safe, and act safe. Whether we attribute this desire to human nature as such or to cultured behavior. My question is this:

What do we do to feel safe ourselves and what do we do to have other people feel safe, such as loved ones, friends, communities, peers, colleagues, etc.? I can only answer this as to how I feel:

The way I stay safe is by how I handle myself, how I make choices, how I define situations around me, and how I avoid other situations. In other words: when I’m awake, I’m always alert and aware (this is how I drive my car, too). In regards to other people, as for example my loved ones, I do look out for them when I’m with them. But when I’m not with them I trust that they, too, look out for themselves. In other words: being awake means being alert and aware.

Terrorism. How are we safe from terrorism? I don’t have the answer to this. How has humankind ever been safe from wars, hate, discrimination, judgement, violence, abuse, and more? Is it possible? To EVER be 100% safe? I think not. The intrinsic nature of being alive is the possible risk of being hurt.

It is nice to believe in safety. That we are safe. I think so, too. And as I have mentioned, I do what I can within my own day-to-day living. But I do go to public places, such as school campuses, movie theaters, airplanes, airports, malls, town squares, etc. and I accept there may be a certain risk involved.  Again, I try to look out for myself.

SAFETY has become the power word in our culture. And when used by leaders, I feel more scared than safe. The hunt for 100% safety scares me. Because that effort is man-made and made up. By words. And then by action, but action causes reaction, so the action alone cannot promise safety – time for another word, how about WELLNESS?

To be well implies more.




  1. Indeed, the use of fear to whip up the masses is the thing making me feel the most unsafe at the moment. These are scary times, which makes it more critical than ever that we not let fear put the brakes on our good judgment and our compassion for everybody else trying to make their way in this world.

  2. You’re right. We can’t let the hype warp our lives. The news media blows terror stories all out of proportion because the coverage increases ratings.

    I’m not going to let either terrorists or reporters dictate my behavior.

  3. Provocative, Elizabeth. I believe you are right that absolute safety is impossible. We are mortal, after all and our own bodies could fail us at any moment. A branch could land on our heads. My guess is that wellness would not only bring greater joy, but would increase our safety. Especially if we promote it in our families, communities and across the globe. 🙂

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