What the forum is, and what it's not.

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The phrase "safe space" is very misleading.

In support circles, a safe space should be understood as a confidential space, a place where peers could meet, talk, and challenge each other.

That space is not always comfortable.

In peer-to-peer support, you are going to be challenged. You'll be asked questions. You'll hear suggestions that you might not want, and sometimes, you will be the person making those uncomfortable suggestions. On the flip side, you'll also be given a whole lot of validation; you'll hear encouragement, you'll receive empathy. Put it all together, the rough and the smooth, and you will have a good picture of what a safe space really is.

Here's what it's not: this is not a space for clique-minded thinking. It's not a popularity contest. This space is not here for hosting gossip, forming alliances, seeking pity, or blaming others for your own actions.

I'm thankful that most members of this board will not know why this post is happening right now. The majority of you are using the board as a place to work on yourself amongst your peers. That's the point - for each of us to do our own work, but not to have to do it alone.

If you are one of the members who have recently been involved in some petty interpersonal stuff, I am writing to let you know: I am aware of it, and it stops, now. There will be no more posting in code, no more 'taking sides'. No more encouraging each other's paranoia.

Understand that each person here is dealing with a lot. If a PM goes unanswered, don't assume you're being shunned. It's more likely that the other person is overwhelmed, or doesn't want to talk. That's their prerogative.

If your feelings have been hurt, figure out how to manage your feelings - don't let cognitive distortions get the better of you. No, it's not always comfortable...but there's real personal growth waiting for you on the other side, if you can sit within your own responses and work them through. Blaming someone else might feel good in the moment, but it gives you nothing in the long run.

To sum up: Members, don't show up for the gossip or the interpersonal baggage. Show up for listening, for giving space, for challenging, for validating. Support honesty. Live, and let live. Show up for the process.
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