My Shangri-La Blog

Holding Space

Hello to each and every one of you beautiful beings!!

Today I am writing about what it is to “hold space” for someone, or even yourself. I chose this topic, not only to clarify to those who are not sure what it means, but to also bring a reminder to myself, that no matter how much you wish to help someone, or how good your intentions are….sometimes, you must simply hold space for them and allow them to process through their own journey in their own time and pace.

So, what does it actually mean when someone says “I will hold space for you” or “I am holding space for you”? 

When you hold space for someone, you open your heart unconditionally to them, letting go of all judgements (including the ones you have against yourself), letting go of all need to “fix them”, letting go of the ego, letting go of the need to “save” someone, and above all else, letting go of your own pain and trauma that may arise within you from witnessing theirs. Yes this seems like a lot of “letting go”, but to sit in this space in complete unconditional love with someone, you must let go of all conditions and agreements you have within yourself, to be fully present and supportive and join them in their space, not your own.

Now that you have come to terms with your ego, and opened your heart, and set aside all judgments and needs of your own, you can now begin to hold space for another.

How can simply holding space for someone help them? 

Holding space for someone, in the literal sense, means you are going to sit in their darkness with them, without wanting to, or needing to turn on the light for them, and tell them it is ok if they wish to sit in the darkness. There are many types of emotions that a person can experience from many types of things that they made need support with, not all are dark, I only used this as a visual example of what it might look like.

Some of the situations a person may have happen that could require another to hold space for them are, trauma, abuse (which can be physical, mental, or emotional), loss or grief (which can be loss of loved one, pet, job, separation from a loved one, or any number of reasons someone may feel loss), and illness to just to name a few. This is where the non-judgment comes in and is very important, it is not for you to judge or decide what emotions they should be feeling, or to what degree, due to any circumstance. Each person is unique, and there may be a multitude of events that came together to create these emotions within them.

Think back to a time, when you have been overwhelmed with an emotion.I am going to present 2 scenarios…… Do not focus on what caused the emotions, only focus on the emotion you felt.

In the first scenario….simply focus on what helped you overcome the emotion. Did you receive support? Did you get a hug? Did you feel allowed to feel what you where feeling?

In the second scenario….focus on what was negative or made the situation or emotion worse. Where you made to feel like you where overreacting? Where you told its no big deal and it will be fine? Where you told things could be worse?

Which of these scenarios resonates within you as being truth? Which one would be helpful and allow you to heal?

Chances are, the supportive loving scenario resonates as truth, because what you felt was validation and support that the emotion you were feeling is ok, it is real, and you are allowed to feel it. They simply held space for you without judgment, or fixing, or changing anything. They allowed you to process, feel and work through what you were feeling or going through on your own terms and conditions, not theirs.

The second scenario, may have come from a family member or loved one, that thought they were being helpful and had good intentions. I am sure we have all encountered this and may have even been the facilitators at one time or another.

Now that we have brought awareness to how holding space can be helpful and supportive, we can move to bringing about, holding space for someone.

What can I do to hold space for someone in a way that is supportive and loving? 

First and foremost….be present!! Not only in the physical sense, but be present with your mind, your emotions, your spirit, this is being present within yourself, as well as with them. Listen not just to hear but truly understand what they are feeling.

Practice non-judgment. So, so important, is the practice of having no judgement. Whatever happened, it just is. Let it be just as it is within them. Do not judge what they are feeling or how you think they should be feeling or acting, regardless if you have been through a similar situation or not.

Create a safe place for them. Let them know they can be open with their emotions, and it is ok, and you will sit with them and allow them to feel whatever it is they are feeling. Help them feel safe within your presence. Make them feel safe enough that even if they fail at their first attempts of working through their emotions, they can try again. Be aware of their boundaries, especially if they have encountered abuse or trauma.

Stay grounded. Often times when someone is upset or shaken, they are un-grounded and it is easy to become ungrounded ourselves when sitting with them and allowing them to work through whatever they are going through. Figure out a way to keep yourself grounded during these times. This may be taking a few deep breaths, planting your feet firmly on the ground and allowing the earth energy to support you, or something similar.

Be compassionate and empathetic. Be loving, supportive, understanding, and open. Allow them to feel whatever it is they are feeling, and offer only a hug, or very mindfully, asking what you can do to help them work through or support them in what they are feeling. Whatever you do, even if what they are feeling brings up your own pain, do not take on their pain as your own, or make it about your pain. Allow this time, to be about them with love and support.

These are just a few of the ways we can hold space for another, and ourselves. I hope this will inspire all to react with a more loving and compassionate choice of holding space, and not always with the motivation of “how can I fix what is broken”.

Blessing to all!!

Penni

When the soul is ready, what is deemed broken within us, will either be discarded as no longer needed as serving a purpose, or restored into strength and spirit , and only then will true healing begin. – Penni Aubrey

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