Holding Space & Open Communication

The first time I ever heard the term “holding space” was in my Foundational Life Coach Course. I have been enamored of it since.

“Holding space means to be with someone without judgment. To donate your ears and heart without wanting anything back. To practice empathy and compassion. To accept someone’s truth, no matter what they are. To allow and accept. Embrace with two hands instead of pointing with one finger. To come in neutral. Open. For them. Not you. Holding space means to put your needs and opinions aside and allow someone to just be. Her. Self.”(https://medium.com/@angrytherapist/what-does-it-mean-look-like-to-hold-space-for-someone-5feb78134caf)

“Holding space” has captivated me because even in it’s simplicity, it’s impact is profound. As a Certified Life Coach, it is my practice to hold space for all my clients. It is how I honor their ability to clarify their issues and plot their road to fulfillment. Part of holding space means bearing witness when a client begins to empty out their worries or upset. There is no judgment on my part and no agenda in my mind. I am a non-partisan observer to my client’s story. Since I hold no ulterior motives or plan in my mind, the client does not have to worry about my opinion or my judgments. I am there for them, and them, only. My neutrality affords them freedom of speech, of mind, and of heart. They can speak as they wish knowing I am listening and truly hear them.

Holding space has been both useful in my professional and my personal life. Awareness is the architect of this space. If you envision this moment between two people as an actual space, you start by learning the boundaries of this space, namely yours. There are days when you are more emotionally fulfilled, and you can give more of your space to someone to occupy. Likewise, there are days when you are bereft and  struggling to find your own peace. In those moments, your space shrinks so you can heal. It is your body’s natural inclination to help you heal before tending to someone else.

If we imagine this as a true space with ever-changing, but somewhat defined boundaries, what do these borders look like? These are no brick and mortar walls, but windows. They may not be entirely transparent in the beginning, but I like to believe as more is shared and heard, the fog on the glass begins to lift. You start to see more clearly.

Holding space is true communication – unadulterated and totally present with one another. I invite you to exercise this the next time an emotionally charged conversation presents itself. Not only will it deepen the relationship you have with another person, but it will deepen your relationship with yourself.