Holding Spaces for Ourselves
"The idea that you have to be protected from any kind of uncomfortable emotion is what I absolutely do not subscribe to." -John Cleese, Actor, Comedian, Screenwriter, Producer
What does it mean to hold (emotional/Psychological) space for someone else?
What can it mean to hold (Physical) spaces for ourselves?
These are two questions that I continue to explore in my own life. This is about what I have learned about both.
Holding space for others puts me in a very vulnerable place, or at least it feels that way. I open myself up, quiet my inner voice and thoughts and really truly listen. I have to be willing to put aside what I want for that person and really observe and honor what they want for themselves and where they ARE, emotionally, physically, spiritually in their life's journey. That was not how I was raised to be.
I was raised in a heavily controlled family environment where what I wanted or needed was always superseded by what my parents wanted in the moment. It took me many years to realize that did not have to be my life nor did I want it to be how I interacted with others. So my journey is now making space for others as described above. This requires me to constantly raise the bar on my emotional intelligence and to be patient with myself and others.
Likewise, I have for more than a decade now asked myself, what it means to hold physical spaces for others. I have certainly not arrived at a definitive answer. I have however learned, which is really the goal of me asking the question. What I have learned is that creating space for a person, or persons is a deeply personal thing...or at least that is my process as a designer. I function more like an architect dissecting the location, the current use of space and/or the needed current and future use of the space and consider what aesthetic aligns not only with that purpose but the the person(s) who will take up space, in that space.
So...all of that to say that when I look at someones life, their life goals, their intention for their life, I am able to truly CRAFT space rather than simply making a place beautiful. Its function and beauty, its emotional and physical, its not function over beauty or beauty over function its both, they happen together...just like life. Life is better when we are in it together.
As a final thought, how can you have more spaces in your life, hold space for you?