What does it mean to “hold space” for someone (or something?) It’s a skill to apply to many things, but it always takes energy.
What are you holding space for right now? Is it worth the energy you’re giving it?
I first learned the term “holding space” as a gift that we give to others when we listen to them and acknowledge what they are feeling. When we hold space for someone we don’t try to “fix” them, or their situation. We don’t DO anything – except listen and let them know they are heard and understood. We don’t have to agree or disagree; expand or embellish; validate or deny. We don’t even have to talk.
Why hold space for someone like this? It helps them process.
You can do it when an employee is struggling with something, and you’re going to have to reprimand them. Hold space first so they can get centered and realize that the reprimand is not because you’re insensitive.
You can do it when someone is struggling emotionally and you just don’t know what to say. You don’t need to say anything, you just need to BE there.
Holding space takes energy and you can actually hold space with your energy for other things too. A problem, upcoming task or project can take space in your energy budget, too. Whenever you allocate energy to something without doing anything active about it, you’re holding space.
Your holding-space-energy budget is limited. This is one way you can become overwhelmed without actually doing anything. You’re probably holding space for a bunch of stuff right now. Want some of your energy back? Stop holding space for stuff you can’t do anything about. DO something about it or put it aside until you can. Free up your energy to do something more important… like holding space for someone who needs you.