What does it mean to ‘hold space’ for another person? Sometimes a loved one comes to us with their challenges or their concerns. Sometimes it can be about something we may have done that has upset them; other times they may be sharing an experience outside of their relationship to us. Essentially, when we hold space for someone, our intention is to be present and invested to their experience. 3 ways to achieve this include:
- Place your intention in listening as to understand what they are saying, not as to respond. In other words, when you hold space for someone, it isn’t necessarily to give advice or to tell them what you would do (unless they specifically ask.) Your intention is simply to listen so that you can gain an understanding of what they are going through.
- Trust that they can take care of themselves. This can be a tough one if you are holding space for your child, or someone who tends to land in a ‘poor me’ place a lot. It means being aware of your own need to fix, be responsible for, judge their experience. Part of holding space for others includes believing that they have the ability to take care of their own needs and choose their own direction.
- Help by naming their emotions. Sometimes people get trapped in the expanse of their emotions. Holding space for someone can be about gently pointing out what they are reflecting to you by way of deeper emotions. An example might be “I can see how angry this is making you; perhaps it is also making you feel sad.” Sometimes naming the emotion helps to bring it to the surface.
Holding space for someone is about intention. It is a lovely gift that we can give to others; it is a lovely gift to receive.
Photo credit: https://unsplash.com/@marcobian