By now we have all heard of the phenomenon sweeping college campuses called “safe spaces.” Safe spaces are a place students and faculty may go where there are no mean words and lots of room for feelings. Since the election, schools and universities including Yale have granted exam extensions and assigned “cry rooms” for students to “cope” with Donald Trump’s victory. The fad of safe spaces is largely influenced by the liberal millennial’s inability to deal with reality. Here’s why I think your “safe space” is doing nothing but incapacitating you.
- Real life doesn’t have safe spaces
Once you finish your credits, graduate, and enter the adult workplace, you are going to realize that safe spaces don’t exist in the everyday, grown-up world. Reality is that people are going to say mean things to you. Not everyone is going to accept you, not everyone is going to like you. What safe spaces fail to teach you is that that is perfectly okay. Not everyone has to like you, and not everyone is going to be nice to you. In the real world everyone is dealing with their own lives; their own struggles, triumphs, and emotions. No one is obligated to make you feel comfortable and safe so your feelings don’t get hurt. In real life you have to deal with feelings, both good and bad, in a graceful way or no one will take you seriously. Responsibilities don’t go away until you’re no longer upset. Those deadlines will still come, bills are still due, and there are no extensions until you’re done crying.
- You don’t learn to maturely cope with anything
If there is a “safe space” for you to always run to when you’re upset, how will you ever learn to process your own emotions? Being human means that sometimes we’re happy, sometimes we’re angry, and sometimes we’re hurt. The beautiful thing is that as we mature, we can learn the correct way to deal with these emotions. In order to be successful in life we first have to understand ourselves. If you run to a “safe space” every time you get your feelings hurt, you are doing nothing but inhibiting your own growth as a human being. You aren’t learning that sometimes we feel things that are unpleasant, but that you will get through it just fine. If you have the emotional coping skills of a three year old, no one will ever take you seriously. It reminds me of a child who runs to his mother every time someone calls him a mean name at the playground. Eventually you have to grow up and learn to deal with the bully on your own.
- It enables a generation of crybabies
There is a time a place to be upset, and there is a time and place to show that you are upset. There is also a time and place to buck up, rub some dirt in your wounds, and carry on. There will be a lot of times in life where you don’t get exactly what you want. How you deal with that says everything about your character. If you run away and look for a safe space to cry you you will not progress in the game of life. If you hold your head high and face adversity vigorously, eventually you will get where you want to go in a respectable manner. No one wants to deal with in incessant whiner. You can’t throw a tempter tantrum and get what you want. Be wise enough to understand what cannot be changed, and accept those situations with grace. When it can be changed, take all of your “feelings” and put them towards accomplishing something productive and watch mountains move.
- You don’t deserve special treatment because you are upset about something
Safe spaces encourage the idea that if you are upset by something, the first priority of both yourself and those around you should be to just make you feel better. Life gets put on pause until you are done being upset. Newsflash: life goes on. No one is obligated to dress your emotional wounds and hug it out with you. Sure, we all have support systems to lean on, but Janet isn’t going to run to the safe space in your corporate office with you and let you cry until you feel better. Everyone has emotions. It’s your job to hold yours together when necessary, because the world doesn’t owe you anything, including emotional therapy.
- There is already a safe space for your feelings: at home
As mentioned before, there is a time and place to be upset. The only true safe space when you become an adult is in your own home. There, you are free of judgment, safe to say and do as you please without repercussions, and have no one disagree with you. You are free to cry all the tears you want. Home is the time and place to cope with all of your feelings. Not in a room at school. Not a public place you can go to when you want to cry about what someone said to you. Actual, real, accredited counseling is an adult-version of a safe space as well. The world doesn’t owe you a safe space. Wait until you get home to deal with your feelings in a nonjudgmental environment.
- It feels too much like social media
We live in a generation where you can “unfollow” or block someone if you disagree with them. I was unfriended by a double-digit number of people on election night. If you don’t agree with someone, you can simply eliminate your ability to see or hear their points of view with the click of a button. Another newsflash: people are going to disagree with you in real life. You can’t just mute, block, or unfollow them when they are standing right in front of you. People are allowed to disagree with you. People are allowed to offend you. Citizens of the United States have the first amendment right of freedom of speech. You have to learn how to deal with differing opinions as a grown adult, especially when it comes to sensitive topics like religion and politics. It takes all kinds to make the world go round and you can only grow by being challenged on your views. Good luck finding a “safe space” when someone opposes what you stand for in the real world.
- Sticks and stones, people…
The fact of the matter is that nothing anyone says about you truly has the power to hurt you unless you allow it to. Nothing defines you except how you act; any Tom, Dick, or Harry can say whatever they want and it doesn’t change who you are as a person. The inability of people in my generation to let what others say roll off their shoulder is truly remarkable. They take everything personally, and everyone wants to be a victim. They let the words of others define who they are as people, and instead of leading with a strong voice, they would rather run to a safe space where no one else can say anything mean. Since when do we have to believe and accept what others say about us as fact? Take everything you hear with a grain of salt, and don’t let it make you run away with your tail between your legs. Words are just words.
My generations obsession with the idea that words are so hurtful that there needs to be “safe spaces” to escape them is an idea I find to be ridiculous. No one learns how to deal with their feelings in a mature manner, and everyone wants to be a victim. I’m not sure when this victim mentality became the norm, but it is shaping students up to be emotionally incompetent adults. Adults that throw temper tantrums like children when they do not get what they want. A society cannot function when its members are either offended by everyone’s opinion, or too scared to speak out because of whom they might offend. Millennials as a whole need to start worrying less about who’s hurting their feelings, and more about the positive impact we can make as a generation on the world and on our great nation.