The Importance of Holding Space and How It’s Done

As kids, our moms and fathers held space for us when we cried. The way we essentially hold a child in our arms to comfort it is similar to how we hold space for adults we think about.

You have likely experienced a look of benevolence so tender that it liberated you from suppressed emotions. That individual was holding space for you in their heart.

So how would we do it? How would we approach holding space?

Holding space is one of those terms that bewilders, or confuses many people. It resembles, “How would I hold space precisely? Is that like consuming up space?” No. Holding space is about how we figure out how to be with others without judgment.

Sometimes holding space includes physically holding, but more than not, it is to hold our dear ones with our heart and our mind… in person, on the telephone, or in our intentions. To hold space is to make space in our heart to witness their pain and not to solve issues or transform it. Give it a chance to be pretty much as it is so they can work through it themselves, with the solace of knowing we are there for them in the body or in the soul.

To hold space is to tell somebody they aren’t alone. You aren’t attempting to discharge their feelings for them. Rather, you give compassionate support that can give them the courage to hold up under what they should bear. To determine what they should resolve. To feel what they should feel.

Holding space is a valuable blessing, however it can be hard. Strive not to think about anything literally or give other’s pain a chance to dwell in your own spirit on account of stress. It’s wise to support yourself afterward.

“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. It’s a relationship between equals.” ~ Pema Chödrön

Here are a few tips for holding space:

1) Give individuals permission to believe their own intuition and intelligence.

2) Give individuals just as much information as they can deal with. An excess of data can overpower individuals, then prepare them in their time of difficulty.

3) Try not to take their power away, but empower them. Allow them to make their own choices. Taking away their power to make a decision will leave them feeling incompetent.

However, in some cases, we have to make the decisions for them. For example, when people are dealing with addiction they then need intervention that will save their life.

4) Keep your ego out of it. If you think that others’ achievement is dependent on you, it’s your ego wanting to take control and judge. Instead, give them the space to evolve and learn, this way you will truly support them on their journey.

5) Make them feel safe to fail. As individuals are encountering changes or issues, they will make mistakes on the way. Holding space for them during that moment, with no disgrace or judgment, will give them the courage to develop resilience.

We have to help them consider their failure to be a piece of the voyage, and that it isn’t the end. At last, they will quit investing time hating themselves for these errors and permit themselves to gain from this experience.

6) Give direction and help with modesty and thoughtfulness. Be insightful and know when your direction should be withheld and when to offer it in a kind and delicate way. We should be watchful. You have to perceive when they feel powerless and to offer them help without shaming them, and that takes modesty.

The art of holding space

These tips are truly the key components of holding space. You’re not attempting to change the circumstance. You’re not attempting to settle it, win it, or influence any sort of result. You are essentially being with a person completely and giving them the opportunity for peace and clarity.

The stunning thing about holding space is that it is not an uneven relationship. Holding space is like two individuals touching the soul of their humanity together and the possibility of experiencing a profound healing.


Heather Plett

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