The thought that was driving my meltdown was unintelligible in my brain, due to the crashing waves of my emotional reaction. But somehow, eventually, I found myself able to fully lift my head and stare straight on at my distorted reflection in the stainless steel door of the dishwasher. My friend was able to just listen to me and just you know… hold the space. When your daughter comes home from school and wants to tell you all about her day, and you listen intently … you are holding space. When your boyfriend vents about how hard work was that day, and you give him your full attention… you are holding space.
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When you are flipping out over one thing or another or all the things, and someone looks at you with complete acceptance… that is holding space. When you are both recognizing what is currently is going on, and open to stepping into a new reality… that is holding space.
Holding space is viewing someone without judgment and seeing him or her through loving kindness. Holding space is recognizing that although we all may stumble, we are all also so powerful. Holding space is like holding the door open for someone to walk through to experience a new model of the world. What we are really doing when we hold space is nothing but pure acceptance—of ourselves, of others, and of the moment. Those compassionate, rooted people in our life are invaluable to help us weather the storm and stand in the light again. But what happens when that other person just is not available to you in that moment?
You can each hold space for yourself. When you are going through something big or seemingly small , you can hold space for yourself by tapping into self-compassion. Kristin Neff defines three components of self-compassion as self-kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. Self-kindness entails being warm and understanding towards ourselves when we suffer, fail, or feel inadequate. Instead of ignoring our pain or hurting ourselves with self-criticism, self-kindness involves being gentle with yourself when you encounter a painful experience.
Common humanity is that reminder that we all suffer. We are all mortal, vulnerable, and imperfect. This suffering is part of the shared human experience. Realizing that can help us feel less isolated and more connected within that space.
Mindfulness is taking a balanced approach to our challenging emotions so that feelings are neither suppressed nor exaggerated. We cannot ignore our pain and feel compassion at the same time.
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This means, the more you can hold space for yourself, the more you can hold space for others. In that space, we all experience what it means to feel unconditional love. When you feel unconditionally loved, you are able to fully own your own experience and truly be who you are.
There is a calmness and clarity and an ability to also love the world as it is. This is where true power comes from. When we are able to be in unconditional love, all of our thoughts, words, and actions flow from it. We are bringing more of that love into the world.
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As a seasoned facilitator and coach, she believes making a difference starts with who you are. She is also the founder of Tiny Haven, a tiny house community. Meet Danielle at www. This site is not intended to provide and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice.
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