Holding space is an act of love. It is the act of giving your entire being and presence to another person. It's the holding of a container in which another feels comfortable and safe sharing their pain, their loss, their story. We all do it. We all, at one time or another, have held space for another, opened our hearts to them and their story, sharing the gift of our presence, but how often do we hold space for ourselves? How often do we show that same compassion, love and open heart to ourselves?
I can speak from experience here, as I am sure many of you also can, and say that we don't do it that often.
We don't offer ourselves the same compassion, love and open heart we gift to others. I am not going to ask you why, because it is a question I have asked myself many times over the last few months. This question has been an ongoing conversation in my head, and within the pages of my journal. I have yet to understand or form any kind of concrete thoughts as to why, but I have made a decision. A decision to hold space for myself. To show myself the same compassion, love and open heart I would show a friend. It means that instead of beating myself up as I fall asleep at night because I didn't live up to my own expectations, I offer myself grace, and tell myself that I am human, I make mistakes, and tomorrow I have a chance to try again. It is what I would tell a friend, I bet you would too, but have you ever told it to yourself?
It means I have a lot of self talk going on in my head all the time, to remind myself to be kind, kind to me. To let my heart split wide open, to let the tears flow, to let the joy creep back in and to be okay with any feeling that enters my being. To let each one find a place to reside, for a while, and then let it go. So much has passed through me in the last twelve months and I haven't always held space for myself. I haven't offered myself the same compassion, love and open heart I would have offered a friend. In some ways I regret that, but I am also happy to recognize it now, and to begin holding space for myself. It feels good, in a way I never could have imagined, and it has allowed me to say yes to me, and create some boundaries to protect myself and my space.
Holding space for myself this weekend meant taking time to walk in the woods. To connect with the stunning beauty of autumn. To lose myself in the colour of the trees, and the blueness of the sky. To listen to the wind as it moved through the leaves, sending messages forth that I hope I heard clearly. The forest was my container for these few hours. It held me, it showed me compassion and love, and opened it's heart to me, and in turn I did the same for myself. As I did, I felt lighter, I felt free, and I felt the warmth of my heart as it cracked open wide, full of compassion and love for myself.
Oh my, this is important and I wonder why we are so HARD on ourselves? Why do we measure ourselves and expect perfection? I struggle with this at times, however since my parenting is done and now I'm in reflective stages. I wish I was more patient with them. However, I was doing my best and that is where I say "okay". It was enough at that time.ReplyDelete
Loved reading this and be gentle to yourself.
Thank you for your kind words Karen. And I so agree, we are so much harder on ourselves then we are on others. I am not sure why that is, or why we hold ourselves to a higher expectation.Delete
And a big yes to your parenting days...you do the best you can at the time. That's all you can do.
This is such a hard thing to do. I'm very neglectful of my own personal feelings and needs, though I would say that I take very good to excellent care of everyone around me. I'm hard on myself. I am really glad you're looking at ways to take better care of you. I hope you will feel better and have a more positive outlook very soon.ReplyDelete
I think it is part of being a mother, don't you? That we take care of everyone else first, and then there is nothing left over for ourselves. I do think though we need to make a conscious effort to meet our own needs, so we can be in a better place to meet the needs of others. And being hard on yourself, I hear you. We need to offer ourselves the same grace we would offer a friend.Delete
Thank you Jennifer.
What a great read. What a great question.ReplyDelete
Holding space for yourself. It is a very hard thing to do eh? There are all these messages, philosophies, 'inspiring' quotes, that constantly reinforce the idea that we have to be the best, or aim to be the best..so of course you have to be hard on yourself.
I think I've unconsciously being doing this more and more over the last decade. Parenting is what did it for me. I had always been an overachiever (and pretty successful at it), but, I found juggling life after we had our first baby really hard. It took a few years, but, slowly I changed my attitude/mindset and accepted that I can only do so much, and only do it so well.
How this happened for me was that I surrounded myself with like minded people and have been vigilant about the chatter in my brain (and keeping it from being too self critical).
Try not to be too hard on yourself :)
Thanks Matt, I appreciate that.Delete
Yes, so hard. I think you hit the nail on the head when you talk about the chatter in your brain, sometimes we really need to shut it off, eh? It can be so damaging, and honestly not helpful at all. Positive self talk is what we need, and a reminder that we are enough and we are doing our best.
I am trying to calm those perfectionist tendencies of mine, not easy, but I am trying.
Hope you and your family are well.
I needed to read this today. Thank you for sharing.ReplyDelete
Thank you for stopping by. Happy to know this spoke to you. xoDelete
As you describe is beautiful my friend, and once again I find deep resonance in me ...ReplyDelete
Yes, I do every day as best I can, and then, through my job (that comes from my own heart) I try to transmit this ...
We are kindred spirits my friend, without a doubt. I love that we found each other in this big blog world.Delete
So true, I shall start consider it more often, to make it an active part of my life. Thank you for reminding me It is so important!ReplyDelete
My pleasure Karin-Ida. xoDelete