Please Don’t Try to Fix Me; Just Listen to Me

We all need someone to “hold space” for us

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Photo by Emilia Niedźwiedzka on Unsplash

I realized that my resistance was not really to the hard things I have been doing. My resistance was to doing them without anyone acknowledging how hard it has been. I felt unseen. I felt alone in my struggle.

Many times, when we are struggling, the ones closest to us want to jump in and fix things for us, or worse, fix us. People tend to be uncomfortable with allowing us to fall apart, or show strong emotions or express thoughts and feelings that make us seem out of control.

How to Hold Space for Someone

“Holding space” for others means we allow them to be just what they are. We allow them to feel just what they feel. And we allow them to think just what they think, without the need to set them straight.

You hold space by listening.

When someone comes to us in a state of overwhelm, the greatest gift we can give them is to listen with our full attention, making eye contact, allowing any and all emotions to be present in them.

You hold space by validating their feelings.

When people without these skills hear us vent, they want to tell us why we shouldn’t let things bother us, or why if we could just see it from the other person’s perspective, we could get over our feelings.

You take yourself out of the equation.

This is about seeing their pain, not about one-upping or sharing your own pain, even in the attempt to make them feel less alone. This just moves the focus off of them and onto you and at that point you have broken the connection with their pain, and you are no longer holding space.

Do Not Offer Solutions

When you are holding space for someone, do not offer solutions. This is really hard for those of us who are fixers. We want to share our wisdom so they won’t have to continue to suffer. Only it doesn’t work that way. They don’t want to know what you would do. They want to hear you say that you believe in their ability to find a solution for themselves.

Human learning to be human. Writing in hopes of getting there. You can follow me at https://www.facebook.com/bethbrunoauthor

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