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Holding Space

Jamieson Van Loan

A lot of our holiday season is spent holding space for others. We do this without even realizing. Now that I think about it, we are constantly holding space for others. Effortlessly. The problem is that we don’t always hold space for ourselves.

Let’s start at the beginning though, what is holding space, you ask?

Essentially it’s the act of being present and there for someone else. It is giving someone compassionate, nonjudgmental support. Lovingly embracing them in not just a physical space but in an emotional one.

This comes easily to me. Comforting and protecting another soul. Done and done. The problem for me and I’m assuming a lot of us, is do you take the time to hold space for yourself?

I had someone recently tell me that my philosophy of “do you” is a bit selfish. And I can understand why they would think this- if the whole world was doing whatever the heck they wanted- there would not be a great deal of global forward movement. But that is not what the “do you” ideal is really getting at. I believe we should be doing what feeds our soul each day. And yes, there is a wee bit of annoying adulting that gets in the way, but life is a balance. The most important aspect is that when we do what makes ourselves or our inner spirit happy, we then become more generous, kind and joyful humans overall. Our happiness creates a ripple effect. Being “selfish” enough to seek personal happiness is the most effective way to spread more joy in the world.

The interesting dynamic is that we hold space for others best AFTER we have taken the time to hold space and care for ourselves. Just like you put your oxygen mask on first before helping those with you, you need to care for yourself first. Emotional self care is of the utmost importance.

Be open to others holding space for you. I, admittedly, do not ask for help often or easily. But we cannot thrive without our tribe and this means allowing them to support you unconditionally. Be vulnerable and accept the space and support. 

What I’ve enjoyed seeing on social media this past week is the honesty surrounding the holidays. While some may thrive off the holiday spirit, others are feeling their lowest. And that is ok. However you feel this week, just know you are not alone.

Here is what I’m personally doing this week: I am managing my expectations. This applies to all things, not just the holiday season. Expectations typically incite disappointment. Allowing things to unfold as they come and being at peace with the situation is true emotional intelligence. It has taken me a very long time to learn this lesson. I have to accept that there will be circumstances that will upheave my peace and all I can do is control my response. Holding my space and being compassionate to myself when things may go awry is crucial. Taking a note from Frozen, “let it go” is sometimes the best response. Try that this week: just let go of what is not serving you, let go of expectations, let go of perfection, let go of ego, let go of negativity, let it ALLLL go. Breathe in love, exhale everything that is not benefiting you. Hold your space!

I wish you all a very peaceful and beautiful week ahead! Sending you all love and good health.

Jamieson xo