Holding Space


Someone is crushing your spirit and strangling your hopes  and aspirations on a daily basis. They are judging you constantly and diminishing you deliberately. That someone is you! Let’s find out how and why...



There’s a lot of high-minded buzz about “holding space”. What exactly does that mean? Simply put, “holding space” for someone or something includes the sum total of your feelings, your perceptions, your expectations and your beliefs. It is the filter through which you experience that person or event,  and it very much colors the way they or it shows up.


When we experience a newborn we generally hold a very loving space for them. Our hearts  and minds open, and we strive to see the best in them. Similarly, with little children, we hold the space for their potential and are very positive about their traits and qualities. When we think about ourselves, it is a very different matter. The space we tend to hold is often judgmental and harsh. It is a narrow and uncomfortable opening that leaves us feeling small and generally bad about ourselves. We do this automatically and are usually unaware that we are even doing it.

What kind of space are you holding for yourself? Is there kindness? Generosity? Encouragement? Or is the space you hold for yourself filled with judgment and self-criticism? As with the baby or the child, the space you hold matters greatly: you are empowered and encouraged, or you live in judgment and pain.


You might think that you are goading yourself to excellence with your constant self-criticism, but imagine doing that to a child. Do you think that child would thrive and be encouraged to excellence?


So, what can you do about it? First, stop and notice your inner conversation with you. Really listen. Is that voice kind or is it toxic? Is it encouraging or hyper-critical? As you try to listen, that voice may be cagey and start to hide from you, but it is there. It’s waiting for you to go unconscious again, so that it can continue to judge. You’ll have to stalk it a bit to catch it unaware. When you do catch it, shut it down immediately. You wouldn’t tolerate that kind of talk from a friend, so don’t take it from “you”. Try replacing the negativity with something positive about you. Do this for a week and you will begin to change your inner dialogue from negative to positive. You will be creating an environment of acceptance and support. Do it for twenty-one days and you will change your life. Suddenly and immediately you will live in a better world. You can do this, and you have complete control to do so. It only takes noticing and changing that inner dialogue, and a new way of “holding space.”


Thomas Jones