Holding Space

Oftentimes when we are struggling with life what we really need is someone to “hold the space”. What this means is someone being there and listening attentively and non-judgementally, allowing us to be ourselves and talk through our problems. This may allow us to come to a solution ourselves, or at least to not feel alone, to feel supported, understood and accepted. It is clear that the listener can cope, emotions are not a threat. We have confidence in them and trust that we can be open. Reflecting and paraphrasing what we say and putting words to our emotions shows that they have understood and can allow us to see our issues more clearly. In an ideal world our parents do this for us as we grow up. We feel validated, we learn in an environment that fosters self-esteem because we are loved. True active listening makes us feel supported while allowing us to work through issues ourselves. Finding our own solutions makes us feel empowered and capable. This is a skill we can carry into adult life. We feel confident that we can solve our problems. When our parents have not been able to do this enough for us we have to adapt and we may seek support in other forms or from other people, sometimes in destructive or unhealthy ways. It may be difficult for us to be confident and independent in a healthy way and develop self managing skills. We may find support from some friends or other family members who are skilled in this way. Person-centred counselling is a way that people can receive this type of support, although it takes effort and courage to work through the effects the lack of support has had on our worldview and achievements in life. Spiritual practices such as meditation or yoga can help us to find our inner resources to develop our coping skills. We can create a safe space within ourselves. When we have this need met we are able to hold space for others.

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