What It Means To Hold Space For Other People

Posted by Trishna Shah on Dec 7, 2015
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Came across this article which nicely articulates what it means to "hold space" for others and how we can do this authentically and unconditionally as individuals.  The article resonates with what we do in the ServiceSpace ecosystem in so many ways from holding space in living rooms for Awakin Circles to holding space for volunteers while supporting their journeys, and shares this concept of holding space in an interpersonal context.

"What does it mean to hold space for someone else? It means that we are willing to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgement and control.

Sometimes we find ourselves holding space for people while they hold space for others. [...] It’s virtually impossible to be a strong space holder unless we have others who will hold space for us. Even the strongest leaders, coaches, nurses, etc., need to know that there are some people with whom they can be vulnerable and weak without fear of being judged.

In my own roles as teacher, facilitator, coach, mother, wife, and friend, etc., I do my best to hold space for other people in the same way that Ann modeled it for me and my siblings. It’s not always easy, because I have a very human tendency to want to fix people, give them advice, or judge them for not being further along the path than they are, but I keep trying because I know that it’s important. At the same time, there are people in my life that I trust to hold space for me.

To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes."  [Continue reading to find out lessons the author has learned in holding space

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Comments (4)

  • Guri Mehta wrote ...

    Great article T! What a beautiful reminder. Thanks for sharing.

  • Kozo Hattori wrote ...

    Love this, Trishna. I'm going to share this article with my men's group where our rules are no advice, no judgment, and no competition. :)

  • Harpreet wrote ...

    Very beautifully and aptly said Trishna...

  • Wendy Berk wrote ...

    Great piece with both heart and practicality.