One of my favorite phrases is ‘holding the space’. To me, this phrase encompasses much of what it means to Live Happier. When we hold the space for someone we are just present, listening, and validating. We aren’t judging, giving advice or offering a solution. We are just there holding their pain, their anguish, their joy, their space. It is my belief when we hold the space for other people our relationships become more rich and full. We get to know our partners, our friends on a whole different level because rather then the conversation being about US it becomes about THEM. I know that people come to insights and change more quickly when we give them the space to do so rather than piling on our agenda, thoughts or advice. The number one thing we all need is validation–a ‘yes this is hard and you will get through this’, or ‘rock on that was an awesome accomplishment’, or ‘you have every right to be sad, angry hurt’. We don’t need to hear, ‘move on’, ‘get over it’, ‘you don’t need to cry’.
I learned this lesson many years ago when I was in a bad relationship. You know one of those relationships where when it is good it is REALLY good and when it is bad it is REALLY bad–and it was honestly only good about 30% of the time. I knew it wasn’t a good relationship and I knew eventually I would get out of it–but I wasn’t quite ready yet. The friends who said to me, ‘move on’, ‘he is a jerk get over it’, were the friends I quit talking to about it. The friends who said ‘I love you and care for you and while I don’t understand why you feel the need to stick with him, I will be with you while you do it’ were the ones who saw me through it. They were the friends who I could talk to and process with and because of them I moved through the bad relationship much faster and learned a valuable life lesson in the process.
The lesson of just holding the space. When we offer people our agenda, our advice we aren’t allowing them their space, their process, their timeframe. So the gift comes, in the challenge and the support–in saying ‘I love you and I don’t like seeing you hurting’. In Holding the Space. To the same degree, we need to learn how to hold the space with ourselves. To be present to ourselves, to listen and validate what our bodies, thoughts emotions are telling us. Unfortunately, we tend to be our own worst critic, consistently giving ourselves advice or criticism. So my challenge for you today is to go out into the world and support, validate and hold the space of both yourself and the people around you. Just offer your genuine caring. Be present to yourself and those you love. I promise it will help you live happier!
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