By Mandy Froelich / Life in Bloom
Hi, beauties! This blog post, I’m going to veer in a different direction and discuss a topic that isn’t brought up too often. That is, how to hold space for others (and, of course, why to do this).
Because most of us are consumed with our own lives, it can be an odd thing to consider “holding space” for others. But, my empathetic friends, it’s exactly what we need to do for those we love and even the strangers in our lives.
What do I mean by holding space?
What I mean when I say this is to consider your involvement in the situation and then remove ego entirely. It’s a practice of non-involvement, and it allows you to be fully present with others and not take their reactions, responses, or statements personally.
I also like Connor Beaton’s explanation, which is:
“Holding space is the process of witnessing and validating someone else’s emotional state while simultaneously being present to your own.”
Why would someone want to do this for another person?
It all comes back to love. If you are walking a spiritual path, more than likely, you feel compelled or at least inspired to witness the good in others. In order to do this, you need to be actively practicing the art of forgiveness.
To forgive is to witness someone exactly where they are in their mentality, life, etc… and be at peace with them and their choices. It can require a great amount of strength but ultimately, sets you and them free. Over time, forgiveness helps you cultivate awareness of why other people behave the way they do. As a result, you take the behavior of others less personally.
What’s the point?
With so many egomaniacs in the world, you might ask: “What’s the point? Why should I go out on a limb when I’m going to be screwed over?”
My response to this is “Because it is necessary.” We are living in a pivotal moment in our species’ history when we have the opportunity to cultivate awareness and lead an enriched way of life or manifest the complete opposite.
If you are saddened by the amount of suffering in the world, the solution isn’t to shun it. It is to love it. You do this by holding space.
Example #1: Your friend breaks up with their significant other
To hold space requires absolute honesty. For example, if a friend came over to your apartment, crying because she and her boyfriend broke up, your instinctual reaction might be to jump on the bandwagon of proclaiming the many reasons her ex is horrible.
But when you hold space and stay in your true integrity, you exist in neutrality. The situation between her and her boyfriend is perceived as neither good nor bad; it occurred for the purpose of growth. Most importantly, if they are meant to be together, they will be.
As a friend, you can offer support and certainly help calm her anxieties. However, when you “hold space,” you also see her for where she is and acknowledge the reality of the situation. For instance, she may be too dependent on her ex-boyfriend due to a belief that she can’t survive the world on her own. As an empathetic and aware friend, if this were the situation, the best move might be to calmly veer the discussion toward the root of the “issue” and be a supportive friend once delusion dissolves.
Example 2: A friend loses a family member in a car accident
In this situation, to hold space means to simply exist and “be present” with that individual. It means allowing them to have a very powerful experience and support them however is needed (as long as compassionate treatment is reciprocal in day-to-day life, otherwise, you can perpetuate an abusive relationship due to a lack of boundaries). For example, you might hold them as they cry, or talk about the person they lost, or bake them something delicious to help them cope with grief.
To “hold space” is a very simple technique to practice. However, it isn’t often talked about or taught in our society. My hope is for you and others to recognize how by being present and offering a compassionate perspective, more people in the world will learn how to let down their walls, be vulnerable, and identify prejudices so they may grow through previous traumas. Only then will the world we seek to create blossom into a reality.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news!