What is an Emotional Safe Place (ESP)?
Your Emotional Safe Place (ESP, unrelated to extrasensory perception) is a personalized, private mental refuge—perhaps the most strategic, therapeutic daydream of them all. You are its architect; you create it in your mind’s eye. It’s a place where time stands still, where you feel safe, comfortable, protected and free to be alive.
If you seek peace, it’s the most peaceful place imaginable.
If you crave stimulation, your Emotional Safe Place is exciting, and then some.
Either way, it’s 100 percent safe and 100 percent private. You don’t have to earn it or deserve it or work for it or surrender it to the authorities. It belongs to you and you alone. It’s unconditional. It is what it is and it isn’t what it isn’t. You will go there whenever you need a break, a strategy or a vacation. When you’re out of ideas, you’ll go to your Emotional Safe Place to regroup.
What is a Mental Support Group (MSG)?
With your Emotional Safe Place firmly set in your imagination, I now encourage you to add a Mental Support Group (MSG)—a support group, chosen by you, whose wisdom and humor and just-right-ness you can access whenever you want. Wouldn’t it be great to have an advisory board on call, a board whose only agenda was seeing that you get to live your life to the fullest? They’d always be happy to hear from you. They’d welcome your midnight brainstorms and your surly six a.m. stuck-in-traffic venting. Plus, they’d think of solutions that would never occur to you.
A nice scenario, I think we can all agree. But how on earth do people like us, who have trouble organizing our own lives, put together a group like this?
Cleary, this task is tailor-made for strategic, therapeutic daydreaming. And, while you may have to cover your bathroom mirror with sticky notes just to remind yourself to brush and floss, you have this daydreaming thing figured out. So let’s get to it.
First, “thinking about” these concepts is the neurological process that creates the network of connections for the ESP and MSG in your mind. “Thinking about” is what weaves the strength into the neural network ~ the foundation for your pillars of self-esteem and self-identity. Therefore, you want to frequently think about these concepts during the day in order to sense them as a “virtual background reality” that is always present. Because of the distress and disruption generated by ADHD, you need the connection to your ESP and MSG to always be with you.
Second, in order to strengthen the neural connection, think about what you see, hear, touch, taste or smell in your ESP and MSG. Here’s a recent example: I was leading a group through strengthening their ESP and MSG when I consciously created a new fruit tree next to the river that runs through my own ESP. I chose the fruit tree because it grows any fruit I desire, such as mangoes, bananas, peaches, avocados, or grapefruit. This fruit is so tangible that I can taste its lusciousness.
And third, you need to develop your ESP and MSG to be at least as strong as the distress you feel in your life. When your strength is equal to the degree of distress, then you get a neutralizing effect, or what I call a “zero point of balance.”
At this stage of strength, you’ll be more objective about the disruption in your life so that you don’t get knocked off your pillars of self-esteem and self-identity. Ultimately you want your ESP and MSG to overcome any distress that might shake the virtual pillars you’re standing on for courage and confidence to your reach your greatest potential.