Have you ever sat by a loved one who was in pain and simply existed at that moment without saying a word to them? Yes, I know you’re all familiar with that feeling.
We’ve all done that. We’ve felt the sadness within a person’s heart. We’ve all sensed the sorrow inside their soul. We’ve all held space for them.
But what does “holding space” really means?
We’ve all used that term but not all of us know the real meaning of holding space for someone else.
Well, “holding space” is a concept that is really hard to describe. Because you aren’t really holding anything. You aren’t holding another person, nor are you holding their fear, sadness or pain.
Holding space is about accepting someone. It is about being in that exact space with them.
When your friend calls you in the middle of the night and needs to talk to you, and you listen, you are holding space for them.
When your partner comes home frustrated and exhausted from all the work he had, and he just wants to vent about it, and you give him your unconditional support, you are holding space…
When your mother has a middle age crisis, feels too tired and opens up to you about everything she was silent before and you are there for her, you are holding space for her.
When you are going crazy over something and someone replies to you “It’s fine. I’ve been through it myself. You will make it.” … That is what holding space really means.
It’s about being present. It is about fully experiencing something. Seeing someone for who they are, without judging them. Holding space is realizing that we are all flawed and that we all make mistakes every once in a while, but that deep down we are much powerful than we believe we are.
It is opening the door for someone and letting them experience something new for the first time. It is allowing them to completely open up their souls and express their fears, insecurities, desires, and passions, by simply being there beside them.
When we hold space, we’re accepting. Ourselves, the moment, our feelings, the people around us. We’re embracing everything that flows through us and we’re allowing ourselves to feel those sensations, but also to learn from them.
Because holding space doesn’t always have to include another person. You can hold space for yourself. Whatever you’re experiencing, no matter how positive or painful the experience is, you can always hold space for yourself by first finding self-compassion within you.
Dr. Kristin Neff explains that self-compassion has three important components.
Common humanity is that inevitable reminder that we all struggle. It helps us get back on our feet by showing us the reality that every single one of us is vulnerable, fragile and flawed. And that suffering is simply a part of the process called life.
Self-kindness, on the other hand, is the support and understanding we have for ourselves whenever we feel miserable. Self-kindness means accepting our pain and finding a way to heal our scars instead of ignoring our sorrow.
Mindfulness is balancing the approach to our emotions. It’s an objective way of observing both our negative and positive emotions and becoming aware of everything we carry inside without suppressing the parts we dislike. It’s about unconditional acceptance.
The thing is, we cannot feel compassion for another human being if we ignore our pain. We cannot help another human being or simply hold the space for them if we’re incapable of holding space for ourselves.
We need that space, even if we don’t always understand why. Because in that space, we are free. In that space, we feel what unconditional love means. Regardless of whether it’s self- love or love for another human being.
That is where our strength comes from.
Being in a constant state of unconditional love means synchronizing all of our thoughts, actions, and words. It means letting them flow like the mightiest river and submerging everything and everyone around it.
Holding space doesn’t benefit us only.
Holding space means sharing that unconditional love with the whole world.
A professional writer with many years of experience in the fields of psychology, human relationships, science, and spirituality.