Holding space for someone else is about connecting with a high level of empathy and compassion, for times of joy and challenging times. It something we strive to do for our nearest and dearest but even for those we don’t know well. Here’s how.
Listen And Accept
First, you must listen with the intention to learn—not necessarily to relate. Relating a similar experience can help us to better understand but if you won’t always have something to relate to. To hold space, you listen and accept someone else’s feelings and experience to be true. It is not for you to judge or agree or disagree with. It’s not for you to determine if you would respond or feel differently. It’s not about you, it’s about them.
Expect Nothing In Return
If your intention is anything other than sincerely being there for someone else, empathy and compassion are not your priority. Holding space is all about the person you are listening to, whether in person, on the phone, while on video chat, or watching someone in a documentary or on TV. Yes, you may walk away with a greater understanding of the human experience, but no one owes you anything for making yourself available to listen.
This is a skill you can develop and further improve so keep working if you aren’t quite there yet.