As we begin the new year, we have plans and wishes, yearnings and hopes for growth, healing, relief, rest or change. 

It helps to remember that our brains have an impulse towards healing and growth. As soon as there’s sufficient support or safety, they move towards greater health and integration.

Non judgmental, warm, loving presence helps the brain feel safe. Compassion helps the brain feel safe. Emotional support helps the brain feel safe.

Feeling understood helps the brain feel safe. Knowing we make sense makes the brain feel safe.

So as we become curious and learn why we may resist making changes, we feel safe as we realize, “I make sense! My experiences make sense!”

And as we bring warmth, care, listening and accompaniment to the places in us that resist, rebel or that feel alarmed by change, we feel loved, and safe.

The founder of polyvagal theory, Stephen Porges, reminds us that ‘we’re always seeking the warmest relationships we can imagine.’

As we feel safe, and as we receive support, what we ‘can imagine’ changes.

In the meantime, if the warmest relationship that you can imagine is a loaf of bread, a bowl of ice cream, or your favorite Netflix show, go easy. Be gentle with yourself.

I imagine that there are really good reasons why that’s so.

And, as you go easy, take the first, smallest step you can towards bringing support and safety to the hurt places inside. This is how we begin to imagine something different.