What Does it Mean to Hold Space For Someone?

What Does it Mean to Hold Space For Someone?

For me, I’ve always viewed holding space in terms of that word, safe. When I hold space for someone I’m not solving their problem, or questioning them. I’m simply letting them be. Whatever that might look like at that moment, and I’m making sure that they are safe. It means making sure that being in my presence, either in person or virtually, is a place where they are free to cry, vent, question, or whatever form of expression is needed to help at that moment. It means being the person who is simply there, listening, offering support, but above all else, keeping them safe, physically, emotionally, mentally, etc.

I also recognize how difficult that really is to do. Many of us weren’t raised to “hold space”, but to fix things. We see someone crying and our instinct is to fix, to do something to get them to stop crying, instead of simply giving them space to cry. Or we want to run out and correct instead of simply allowing people the space to tell their story safe from the worry of the person hearing it will overreact. This is so hard for us, we want to correct injustice, to fight for the people we care about, but sometimes by doing so, we eliminate their safe space to simply tell their story and stop listening to what they want from us. That is the opposite of holding space.

How do you hold space for others, and for yourself?

Video – How Trauma Affects Memory

Video – How Trauma Affects Memory

I saw this video shared on Lauren’s Kids Facebook page and wanted to share it here because I think what the folks who work at this Children’s Advocacy Center have to say about childhood trauma, and what children remember is incredibly valuable.

We often expect child abuse survivors, especially when the abuse was so recent, to remember the details, and be able to provide an exact timeline of events. When they struggle to do that it becomes a little too easy for us to start doubting that they are telling the truth, instead of understanding that this is exactly the way it’s supposed to work.

Practice Setting Boundaries

Practice Setting Boundaries

I like the fact that they not only offer concrete things to say but also some background on how to define your own boundaries and what that means. I know for may survivors, we have to first address the core issue, the elephant in the room, before we can start the practice, so let me just go ahead and say that:

You deserve to set your own boundaries.

Full stop. Let that sink in, let it rattle around in your brain, keep reading it until you believe that about yourself.

Then, go take a look at the practical examples of doing that.

What boundaries do you struggle with? What has helped you do better at maintaining them?

BBC Headroom Collection of Mental Health Tools

BBC Headroom Collection of Mental Health Tools

Simply put, there is a lot of stuff available at the site, from articles, radio shows, mindfulness tools, etc. to BBC TV programs dedicated to mental health topics.

If nothing else, make a note of it and spend some time wandering around and see if any of the tools that are available would be helpful to you, and if they are, come back and let us know!

Sharing – 40 Best Books About Depression That Will Inform, Inspire, and Help You Feel Less Alone
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Sharing – 40 Best Books About Depression That Will Inform, Inspire, and Help You Feel Less Alone

As you know, I always try and share recommendations for books, and other resources that might be of use, so here is another list of recommended books about depression from Parade. Some of them I am familiar with, and think they are pretty good, most I’m not familiar with at all, so if you are, be sure to leave a comment letting us know your opinions!