Learning to Hold Space


How to hold space effectively

(Adapted from Mind Body Green)

Here are a few things you can do to get you started on the road to holding space for those in need: 

  1. Start by practicing deep listening. Deep listening is the art of listening to understand, not to respond. It involves not only your ears but also your heart.  
  2. Listening without judgment. This one can be hard, but the true definition of nonjudgmental is someone or something that does not express an opinion. We all have opinions, and it is in our nature to share them, but when holding space for someone, you must remove your opinion from the conversation and allow the other person the space to present theirs. 
  3. Practice loving kindness. Loving kindness is a Buddhist philosophy that involves cultivating compassion and love for all living beings, Earth, and the self. There is a popular loving kindness mantra that reads, “May all human beings everywhere be healthy, happy, and free.” It is the art of sending positive and loving thoughts to all in the universe.
  4. Make room for others. Make room for and allow the other person to feel all that they need to feel. Hold them if they need to cry, or allow them to yell or scream, if necessary.
  5. Use the power of your breath. Deep breathing is one of the most powerful ways to stay connected to yourself, which will, in turn, allow you to deepen your connection to others.
  6. Let go of the “fix it” mentality. Our natural instinct in most cases is to offer solutions when we see people in pain, sometimes mentioning things that might make us feel better. Be there to listen only. The process of moving through pain is individual, and the only way past it is to sit with it.