As I navigate the breakup the past three months, I can’t help but notice that when I go to people for support many of them want to help by “fixing it” or giving me advice, rather than just holding space for my experience and allowing me to be exactly where I’m at emotionally.
This impulse is only natural because none of us want to see anyone we care about in pain, but the thing about this approach is that it actually creates more pain. Especially for people who feel their emotions really intensely.
It’s more painful because on top of the existing heartache I have felt that others want to push me into a different experience and I find myself feeling the need to justify the things I am doing to get through each day. If you feel things deeply, it can feel next to impossible to shift your state (it is not impossible, but can feel like it is).
If you aren’t familiar with the term “holding space” – let me tell you, it is revolutionary. What it means is to sit with someone through their experience, holding a strong and loving presence, and allowing them to be exactly where they’re at. This is a key principle in creating conscious loving relationships that most of us were not taught.
When we push against our own emotions, we create resistance to them, and what we resist persists. When we allow ourselves to be exactly where we are, without judgement – we give our emotions space to move and breathe. The same thing for other people’s emotions and experiences – when we hold space for them and just sit with them and love them – without trying to change their experience, the emotion will reach a peak and then subside because they feel loved and supported through it.
In order to get good at holding space, we need to learn to hold space for ourselves first. We need to practice allowing ourselves to be where we are at, without shaming or judgment and provide ourselves with the understanding that there is a reason for whatever it is that we are feeling and that we are human and it is OKAY to have emotions. When we can sit with ourselves through our own experience, however uncomfortable, we get really good at sitting with others and supporting them through their own experiences.
I invite you to practice this next time someone reaches out to you for support. Listen to them. Reflect back what they are saying (without adding your own interpretation or giving advice) and allow them to have their experience while you hold the space of love and compassion for them. Usually this is all any of us need to give us space to move through and process our emotions. We all just want to feel seen, heard, and loved.
Book a call with me and learn how to heal your relationships by learning how to hold space for yourself and others: https://app.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?owner=20405974&appointmentType=16261555