If you are a nurturer who cares for people and wants to hear about their problems it can sometimes get overwhelming to have deep relationships with people. Hanging out with friends who won’t stop talking about their own problems can feel draining. You might feel like you can’t express your emotions and end up feeling alone in that relationship.
In the yoga community, they often talk about the concept of holding space. For so long I didn’t understand what that meant but I was drawn to the expression and liked the way it sounded. Learning what that means took me some time but I guess you can say holding space feels like you open up space and time to just let your feelings be validated, not judged, or changed. Just letting them show up to the surface and be noticed. It is allowing your voice to take over and letting the truth come out. Letting your emotions be there, whether they are negative or positive.
Communication is the key to any relationship but what happens when you feel like you aren’t being heard? When all you do is listen to other people talk on and on about their lives. Well, then it might be time to question the relationship and redefine your rolls.
That is when you have to put up boundaries and let people know you won’t be their therapist anymore. It might be hard to draw that line and make that change but you deserve a friend who actually holds space for you.
I get that everybody feels like their problems are the worst and the biggest but sometimes I feel like telling them else to shut it. I try to always listen to other people and I validate them by hearing them out and letting them rant. But there is a difference between being a good listener and being a dumping place for people’s anxiety. Sometimes those people only come to you when they want to chat and hear their own thoughts out loud. They don’t really care about your opinion or what you have to say, they just want someone who listens to their sad stories.
I have realized that oftentimes I feel drained and low after spending time with a person who doesn’t let me talk. Partly it is my fault because I give up my own power and let them take control over the conversation. But a part of me wishes they would have the decency to ask how I am doing. The truth is that if I don’t take the space to be heard in return no one will give me that time to speak my mind.
Giving that gift to others is how you build a strong relationship in my opinion. That is what a good friend or therapist does. They hold space. They give you permission to be yourself, open, and free.
There is nothing better than having a friend who listens to what you have to say. A friend who just listens doesn’t talk about their own perspective or give you advice but just sits still and listens. The only time they interrupt you is to ask questions to make sure they understand you fully. It is rare to find that kind of person who can sit with you and your emotions without judgment. Having that person who just sits with you while you speak is what holding space means.
The magic of it is you can start by giving it to yourself by showing up for yourself and your emotions. You can journal and free-write to see what comes up. Use the concept of holding space to start taking your own power back. Allow yourself to fully express your emotions and then it just might get easier to ask people to hold space for you when you are ready to speak.
I would love to hear what your thoughts are and how you deal with communication issues in your relationships. Let me know in the comment section below.