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  • Writer's pictureStephen Hart

Small Is Safe

This article was difficult to share, opening up about a struggle I've kept in the dark my entire adult life. But the realization I had from the conversation described was too profound not to share. I know we all have these struggles, and I am not alone. Neither are you.


We all have that thing in life that we use to escape, our vice that brings us comfort when we aren’t ready to face our emotions. For some, it can be destructive, like unhealthy food, drugs, alcohol, TV, etc. For others, it can be productive things like work, fitness, or even yoga. Either way, if it distracts you from feeling how you feel, it is an escape, and it is totally okay to do so from time to time. Overindulgence, however, can wedge you away from the highest path, your best self, your purpose. It’s different for everyone, but we all have our thing and know when we’ve gone over our limit. 

For me, it formed in my college days with a seemingly innocuous trifecta of weed, porn, and video games. From here on out, I refer to my vices as “they”. They were a way for me to escape, distract myself from my anxieties, enjoy some pleasure even while I was struggling. I didn’t think much of it at the time; I was a college guy, surely one of many who indulged like this. “It could be worse,” I always told myself.

It wasn’t until my mom suddenly died in 2014 that they became a real issue. A spiral that would consume my time and energy instead of processing my feelings about her death. Each day was a struggle, but I felt a sense of safety that they waited for me at home after work, when I could crawl into a smoky cave and dissociate from my pain until morning. And then do it again the next day, and the next, and the next. I felt so much shame, told no one, and went on pretending to be fine. Even though I knew it was affecting my health, my work, and my happiness, it was harder to stop than face my grief, so I kept with them. 

It lasted until shortly before I met Karina, when I finally found a reason to quit. Karina wouldn’t stand for this kind of habit, and she was far more important to me. Though I dropped them from my daily life, they laid dormant throughout the 7 years of our relationship. The urge was always there, little moments to remind me that they lurked in the background. I was strong enough to resist, but always needed an external reason to do so. 

And then Karina died. For over a year, I fought tooth and nail to stay away from them so I could process her death. And I did. It wasn’t until life crept back towards a sense of normalcy that I fell to their temptation again. This time around, I didn’t have an external reason to resist, no one to leave me if I indulged. Nothing to lose but my own health and happiness. So I fell deep into their clutch once again and finally had to face them myself. 

Below is an abridged conversation between them, my inner child, and myself at a critical point, that moment when enough was enough. I sat in a meditation and journaled what was said, which is copied below:


Hi, old friend. We are back to keep you safe. You’ve been through a lot, and you’ve changed. You are getting too big, taking up too much space. People are looking at you, it’s dangerous. You need to stay small, small is safe.  We can do that for you. We can keep you small, keep you numb, keep you from growing too big. 

We know it doesn’t last long, you have to keep with us. One more day. One more. One more. Each time, keeping safe by keeping you small. We are fine. There’s no reason to resist. We won’t hurt you. 

We are here to tire you. To keep you dull. To stop you from evolving or changing anymore. You say you want to grow, but do you really? Growth hurts, a lot. All of that growth is putting distance between you and how things were. Distance between you and Karina, is that what you want? You want to suffer like that? The unknown is terrifying; we aren’t sure you will exist there. It’s safer here, let’s stay here, stay small. Small is safe. 

We can protect you. The anxiety, the fear, the sadness, all those feelings that are so overwhelmingly painful. We got you. You can come here any time, every day. We are your suit of armor in a world that is so dangerous and uncertain. We can protect you. We can keep you safe. We are here to help you, you don’t need to shame us. We’re on your side. Come on, once more, it’s fine. 


You know, you’re right. I’ve felt so much shame and guilt with you in my life over the years. You’ve frustrated me, strained relationships, made me sick, kept me alone and afraid. I hated you, and hated even more that I needed you. 

But it wasn’t your fault. You were trying to protect me. You got me through some of the worst times in my life, and all I did was resent you, kept you a secret. I see that now. 

So, I apologize. You served me for years. You were there for me when it all got too hard. I faced a lot in my life and you helped me take a break from it all. You provided laughter, rest, and pleasure in the darkest of times. I am so grateful for that, I am sorry for hating you. 

Things are different now, though. I have tools, skills that I’ve honed, lessons that I’ve learned, perspectives I’ve gained that help me face the challenges of life with grace, understanding, bravery, and faith. It is how I want to live; there isn’t space for you here anymore. 

I want to grow, to expand, to be resilient, to be in coherence with my highest Self. I want to laugh and cry on my own. I want to feel it all. I am strong enough now. Strong enough to feel, to process, to face, to survive. I don’t need your protection anymore. Your armor is strong and sturdy, but it’s heavy. It slows me down, exhausts me. It is time that I shed your armor. 

With love, with respect, with gratitude, I release your protection. Your job here is done. I thank you, and I let you go. I have my Self now, my skin will grow strong, and I will move faster and go farther in this life without you. 

My inner child:

No! Do I get a say in this? We need them! I’m scared of a future without them. What will happen? What if we get in trouble? What if we fail? It’s not safe out there, how will you protect us without armor? Are you sure you are strong enough? What is wrong with being small if that means we can be safe?

I’m afraid, I don’t like this. Please don’t let them leave us, they have always been there for us. Remember when mom died? They saved us. They are saving us again now. I don’t understand this new life, you are moving too fast. You’re forgetting how we used to be. We were safe in our life. Now everything is changing and I don’t like it. It’s not safe. I’m scared. Please don’t let them go. 


I hear you little one. I understand. You must see, they are not what is keeping us safe. It is temporary, an illusion. Yes, their armor is strong, but it has rusted, gotten heavier. It can’t protect us anymore. I know it seems scary, but soon you will see what I have seen, which will bring you comfort. 

Safety is in the alignment between you, me, and Spirit. Trust me as I trust Spirit, and we can never be harmed. I don’t know how it will turn out, but we will be okay no matter what. Mom is with us, Karina is with us, we are being cared for now more than ever by unlimited, ever-present, Love. We are safer here than ever before. 

I’ve known this for some time, but occasionally I forget. Sometimes life gets the better of me and I go back to them. I’m learning compassion for myself in these times, but I am seeing, over and over, the truth of where safety actually lies. 

Safety is not in them. It is in us. It is internal. It is only in the Love energy that flows through us. You and I are safer here than anywhere else. We can withstand anything together. So, little one, will you stand with me? Will you be brave for long enough to see that you are safer now more than ever? Will you trust in me, as I trust in Spirit, and together, move forward in this life?

We have a lot to do here. Their armor is too much to carry, I can’t hold it any longer. We are on the leading edge of creation, and the future is uncertain. It seems scary because it is different, because it is bigger. The bigger we get the more vulnerable we are. The more space we take up, the more susceptible we are to being misunderstood, judged, attacked. 

But I promise you, dear one, we will be okay. We don’t need to fall back into smallness. We don’t need armor. We are always protected. Together, you, me, and Spirit, we go Onwards and Upwards. 

This conversation rested in a sense of peace, a quiet sweetness. A knowing that I’ve turned a corner, shed their grip, all is well. My inner child feels it can rest. I don't need to fear, or struggle, or shame anymore.

I’ve reread this on several occasions as they whisper to me in weaker moments, “It’s okay, just one more time. Today was hard, you deserve it.” This reminds me that my future is not with them, but with Spirit, and I am not to be fooled by them as I continue my path, Onward and Upward.


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