Taking Steps to Create A Safe (Mental) Space

It’s celebration time! Kennedi completed her Return to Play protocol last week, and after 9 months of physical therapy, she is kicking off phase 2 of her journey – Road from Recovery to Redemption (I just came up with that!)

The high school track season has also come to an end, and I made it through (relatively) unscathed. I don’t know who won anything, who broke any records; I didn’t check any news articles or ask for updates. I really hoped all of our family friends were doing well and breaking records. I just didn’t need to know about it right now.

Even as I typed this, I felt a twinge of temptation to Google some stats from States and the Meet of Champions for New Jersey to see how some of the athletes Kennedi previously competed with fared.

But nope, I’m not gonna do that to myself. It would only be a setup and I have no idea where it could lead to once I saw the results. Jealousy? Envy? Fear? Disappointment? Why invite those feelings in when I’m doing fine emotionally right now?

I’m thankful for her physical healing that has taken place thus far, but there is still emotional and mental healing needed for us as well. In order to facilitate that process, I previously shared that we decided not to participate in track this spring and summer season.

After making that choice, I wanted to be stable and not waiver back and forth with indecision. I knew that if I continued seeing my friends’ posts that detailed the amazing accomplishments of their children, it could possibly plant those seeds of jealousy, envy, disappointment, and even regret.

And when those seeds start growing, there’s no telling what they could lead to. So, I made the difficult decision to unfollow a number of my friends on Social Media. I needed to create a safe place and set boundaries. I can’t limit what another person posts, but I can limit (to some extent) what I allow myself to be exposed to.

Remember the old saying, “Comparison Kills”? It can snatch away joy and peace in an instant.

Some people seem to go looking for that negative exposure – they sneak and investigate their ex’s social media page. Or spy to see how their frenemy is living their best life. Before long, those familiar pangs of jealously and envy can spring up, leaving feelings of discontentment in its wake. Why would anyone set themselves up for that – as we discussed last week – why invite the trauma back into your life?

This week’s theme scripture warns us to proactively avoid harmful situations, instead of proceeding with reckless abandon. Life is so much better when we make wise decisions rather than foolish ones. Fools spend a lot of time living in regret.

If you constantly function at a safe place, and nothing triggers you, then you are very blessed. But if someone else’s life or actions (or image they may falsely create) is causing you to struggle in some areas, I encourage you to cut that connection, even if only temporarily until you’ve had time to heal.

If someone is posting about their children excelling in certain areas where yours are struggling, can you process that without negative feelings?

Do you have married friends that post about their undying love to their soul mate and best friend (God bless them!), while you can barely stand to be in the room with your spouse?

Do you have friends vacationing every month, driving the latest cars, buying new homes that are immaculately decorated while you have bill collectors calling every day and are struggling to cover your basic needs?

If any of these situations or something similar resonates with you, whether online or in your real life, you must take responsibility to create a safe space mentally. If viewing your social media brings negative feelings, implement safeguards. Same goes for your everyday life. If your circle of friends (and maybe even family) trigger you, you may need to disengage or create protective boundaries.

Some of these changes may be temporary, while others more permanent. But know that you must take the necessary steps to protect your mind, your heart, and your emotions. Once you do, joy and peace will soon follow.

And once we fully heal, we can celebrate others’ success. God’s joy and peace has an unbelievable way of changing our perspective. I can’t wait until I get there!


Do you have people in your life or in social media that you need to disconnect from?

What traumatic thoughts and situations do you need healing from? Has this blog given you any ideas of some steps you can take to protect your mental and emotional well-being?

Feel free to share your response in the comments section…

Published by Tonya May Avent

Child of God. Wife of 20 years to basketball fanatic and coach. Mom to teenage daughters and amazing athletes. Tonya is an award-winning author whose writing has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul and Guideposts magazine. Her first book, Using God’s Playbook for the Game of Life: 52 Scriptures Your Young Athlete Should Know Before Sending Them Off Into the World was released in October 2022.

4 thoughts on “Taking Steps to Create A Safe (Mental) Space

  1. As always thank you for posting. I don’t always get a chance to reply, some are a quick read on a break but I truly appreciate and value this outlet that God has given you. And the fact that I know you makes your words all the more real to me. Creating a safe mental space and limiting my exposure to harmful mental situations has been a struggle for me and I ask you to keep me in your prayers. I find myself reading or scrolling or watching things that I know will create the feelings God would not desire me to have. I know everyone has a struggle or an insecurity and sometimes when you see posts or read articles and think wow that just seems perfect you forget that they too have those parts of their life and you hey fixated on what you see and not reality. More importantly for me it puts me in a place of not looking at God for exactly how He has my life planned out. I too have unfollowed, in some cases unfriended, and created a necessary distance in areas I knew I was battling with or just needed to overcome a fear. Thank you for this reminder that health begins in the mind, even with issues about motivation to do other things in my life. I remember Sis Lisa taught us in Sunday School to guard our ear, eye and mouth gates and Bishop Moses would always say if you can’t think there you can’t go there. So thank you for yet another reminder that a healthy foundation for spirit and body start with our minds. Have a great day!

    1. Sheera, thank you for your transparency. This topic is so important for us to stay on top of, and protect our mental exposure. As moms we have an added burden, as we face mental attacks related to our children. I too find myself getting caught up on headlines and I catch myself (usually in the middle of reading) and I ask myself how is reading this benefiting me? Sometimes we jump online for a welcomed “escape” from our lives, but we have to now realize the costs?

      I will definitely be praying for you. You are awesome wife, mother, and woman of God. He’ll continue to perfect us in all things concerning Him. Stay encouraged my sister!

  2. Thanks my sister for an awesome blog. I’ve been off social media this week, our church has been on a Fast. Your blog touched home, I often tell my oldest daughter to guard her mind. That she should be mindful of the things she watch, listen to, and the people she associated with. As I always try to encourage her and direct her, I to need encouragement and direction. Often times I get on social media and become overwhelmed with all of the violence, and the injustice that’s taking place through out the world. I feel so heavy and sad at times, I had to stop reading every article and post just to keep my sanity. So thank you for being so transparent and encouraging. Love you to life.

    1. I don’t know how I missed your post Sandie but THANK YOU!! Please forgive me for the late response. Thank you for sharing, this blessed me so. Love you too!

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