When I was around four years old I, like many kids, became worried about monsters in my room at night. My mom had an astute solution for my problem; make a sign.
The sign said something like “no monsters allowed” and we taped it to my bedroom door. After that, no more worries. I felt safe from the imaginary monsters.
My young mind reasoned that when a monster came to my door, he’d read the sign, realize he was not permitted past that point and move on. This meant that 1) monsters could read 2) a monster knew he was a monster and 3) monsters obeyed rules.
This sign scribbled on construction paper gave me what I need most, a feeling of safety. The monstrous threat to me wasn’t real, but that didn’t matter. I wanted to feel safe in my room so after creating the sign, I felt safe.
Today as grownups some of us still think these signs work for real world problems. We want so desperately to feel safe that we’ll say whatever we need to satisfy that feeling without any real action, without any real security.
A woman carries a sign that says “no rapists allowed” as she jogs alone in the park after 10pm. Is she really safer? No. A family leaving for vacation posts a “no burglars allowed” sign as they go live on Facebook to talk about their trip. Is their home protected? No.
And everyone plants a “no active shooters allowed” sign in front of every school in America as we do nothing of merit to secure our kids. Because we all know real monsters don’t pay attention to signs!
We can have all of the expectations and feelings of safety to our hearts content, but that doesn’t translate to real world security. That’s simply living in a bubble. To be safe means to take action and responsibility for yourself.
I came to the conclusion some years ago that my personal safety was my burden and that meant taking action. I changed my mindset to try to see trouble before it starts, got relative hands-on training and fortified my house with a layered home defense strategy. Now my sign says “I’m prepared.”
What does your sign say?
Don’t worry if you’re seeking the feeling of safety, we all want to be safe, that’s natural. You can take control of your personal safety a little each day. The first thing you need to understand is that these signs, this desire to FEEL safe, won’t make you in safer. They’re just thoughts, wishes and desires. Action is required for real security.
Here are a few ways you can start making yourself, and your family, safer today.