We have all experienced the awkward comments either said or received when we have lost a loved one or gone through something very challenging in our life. I have been on both sides myself. You would think that going through something difficult would help you know what to say to someone else! We all fumble!
The thought of what it means to hold space for someone has been going through my mind lately. You will hear this in many different types of belief systems. It may be a prayer circle, or keeping someone in your thoughts and prayers, or sending love your way, or... you name it. These are all acts of holding space. They are beautiful acts and so needed. The energetic expressions that we offer are VERY real and VERY impactful.
So what does it mean to hold space for someone? Holding space means to create a safe space where they can be completely vulnerable and be in a space to receive love and support for where they are in that moment without feeling like you need something from them or adding energy to their heaviness. Allowing them to just completely be.
I would like to offer some tips as to how we can cleanly hold space for someone.
1. Listen without judgement, without the desire to fix them or needing to share your experiences.
This one can be really challenging for most of us as we want to feel like we are being helpful. Often times the way we feel helpful is finding someway to identify with them and say, 'me too'! While this comes from a heart space, it is also selfish as it's not truly holding space for the person you are listening to. Can you listen while your loved one tells you what is going on in their life? Letting them get everything off their chest of how they are feeling? Then offering questions like, "how can I best support you?"
2. Do not step onto the triangle with them.
To hold clean space for someone, do not get onto the triangle with them. If you do not know what that is I did a short video on this. You can watch it here: https://youtu.be/Cf7VDg6LNTA While your loved one may be hurting and dancing around the triangle (which is understandable) let them and be a witness to their process, but do not jump on with them. You do not need to save them, or be a victim with them. Hold clean space and allow for yourself to be a witness to their process without the need to take any of it on.
3. Do not make it about you.
Everything in our life is a reflection of our inner state. This can be a challenging thought as it truly makes us accountable for our actions and what we are creating in our world. With that being said, have you found yourself in a position where a friend reaches out to you with some not so great news and somehow you make it about you? Often times when we do this and say something to a loved one that is scared or in pain can be received as very hurtful.
It is common to feel energetically pulled by people in our lives. Sometimes this is because of our own filters and beliefs we have. Sometimes it can be because of a past hurt we have had from this person, or a judgement we have of them. Again, because we are magnificent creators of our reality, the question I would suggest to ask yourself is why do you instantly feel that your energy will be drained by that person? Maybe it is because that person is draining. Maybe it's because you have a tendency to give your energy too freely to people when they actually don't need it or want it? There are so many areas that we can personally look at and reflect on to get clearer with the way we carry ourselves and our beliefs. With women, we can feel pulled by another female in a negative way because of old belief systems and old collective holdings of shadow elements around what has happened in lifetimes.
4. Offer love and support.
When someone we love is hurting it's natural to want to take away their pain or to help fix whatever is going on. As we are all on our own individual journey's it's important to remember that whatever your loved one is going through, they chose this for their own personal growth as a part of their journey in this life. The best thing, the most supportive thing, you can offer them is love and support. Letting them know that you are there for them when they need someone to cry to, vent to or if they are needing some physical support. Little texts when you are thinking about them is always a good idea. Acts of service, bringing them a meal or a book or something that you felt called to bring them is always a good idea. Really at the foundation of all things is love. Can you open your heart all the way to someone, feeling their pain and giving them love? While doing this, can you do it from a place on non-attachment to outcome, to fear, to taking on any of their pain? This one can be challenge but it's a beautiful practice.
5. Be comfortable with silence.
It's often that our need for saying something is from a place of awkwardness. Sitting in silence, just being there for your loved one, can be uncomfortable. I can assure you that this is one of the greatest gifts you can give a person. Energy can speak louder than words. Your prayers are felt, your heart is felt, your support is felt without the need for speaking into it - it is felt. When my Dad was sick with Cancer he wrote about this very thing. He could feel each and every prayer that was uttered on his behalf without the people needing to tell him they were praying for him. Energy is real. This isn't to say that you shouldn't text or call telling the person that you are thinking of them. It's to remind you that being silent while a friend is speaking, or just sitting with them in silence, is very powerful.
At the end of the day we are all humans doing our best in our life journeys. I offer these tips as suggestions from what I have learned in my life on both sides. Take them or leave them!