Updated: Jun 28, 2020
By Barbara Denson
Why is it so important to hold space for another person? Because in order to allow others to breathe and to give them that space, you need to step aside and stop projecting all of your “stuff” onto them as you “listen”.The quotations around 'listen' are deliberate because the reality is that often we don’t actually listen when we are with someone. Most of the time we are reflecting on what they are doing, how they are speaking and how whatever that is makes us feel as opposed to just really sitting and HEARING where they are coming from without it being about ourselves.
The irony for healers is that you can do more by doing less!
It is actually an act of healing to allow the other person to feel where they are and find their own sense of well-being which, incidentally, will happen faster if we don’t try to do the work for them.
The truth is that all of us are here to find ourselves and to empower that other person to do the same. To make their own choices, to make their own “mistakes” and learn from them is extremely empowering and a gift to the other.
So keep holding that space. Allow the other person to feel what they are feeling and don’t try to fix anything other than letting them know they are ultimately safe and that whatever they are feeling is legitimate and valid. Then we can get back to how we listen and what that means. As healers we want to make things better, so we bend over backwards to make things happen. But what is really happening when we judge and try to fix? We are actually projecting onto the other our own perceptions of our reality and experiences and so what is most important is to reflect on why that is, reflect on what that triggers in our own being. In other words, to start to hold space for yourself.
"The beginning of love is the will to let those we love be perfectly themselves, the resolution not to twist them to fit our own image. If in loving them we do not love what they are, but only their potential likeness to ourselves, then we do not love them: we only love the reflection of ourselves we find in them” - Thomas Merton “No Man is an Island”