Have you ever heard anyone say "hold space, create space, or take up space?" If you have there is a chance you were sitting there looking at them like this
If you are new here WELCOME, I'm Jin. I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, and certified Yoga and Mediation Instructor. In this blog, my focus is always on self-care as it pertains to your whole being. That's mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I share things that have worked for me, things people in my community have shared with that has worked for them, and things I've learned or studied as a way to help those who may want or need the information. Now that we have that out of the way.... let's to down to bald headed business.
I had a student ask me what it meant to hold space? I told her "think of your body as a car- think about what kind of car you drive and what you already have in it. Now think about someone coming up to you and asking you for a ride. With that ride, they are bringing a couple of bags that might need to go in the trunk or in the back seat. Would you have room in your car for them to sit or would you need to move some things first? Do you have gas to get them to their destination and you to yours? Is it on the way or are you going out of your way? Consider all of these things as I ask you do you have space for all of those things?"
To hold space is to be present with someone without judgment. As a human, this can be an interesting skill to learn. In therapy this could be called unconditional positive regard, in yoga, this could be called Ahimsa (non-harm). Ahimsa is the first Yama in the 8 limbs of yoga. Since integrating my practices and becoming more aware I've been challenged to go a little deeper and ask myself do I really practice non-harm/non-violence? I could say yes until "all the time" is added to the end of the question. I know there are times when I wake up and tap that violence button. The days that I don't check in myself before I leave the house, the days I don't speak to myself so nicely, the days that I'm really hard on myself for absolutely no reason. This further challenged me to think, if there are days where I am like this with myself, how can others around me be affected by my behavior? Ahimsa brings awareness to every one of my actions be them raggedy or polished, I am invited to cultivate love, compassion, kindness, non-judgment, generosity, respect, and forgiveness for myself as well as everyone I come in contact with. This skill hasn't been an easy skill to work on. To hold space for myself and EVERYONE I meet with compassion knowing that this is a part of their experience and they had many experiences that got them to where ever I met them. How do you prepare yourself for that? You meet everyone with compassion. Knowing that life has lif'ed on them too at some point or another.
Holding space for others was always easy for me. I didn't have to talk to them about what I was dealing with, I just listened and provided a safe space for others to address the feeling they were feeling, openly emote, and then when they felt better I wouldn't hear from them again until they were in another situation where they needed a friend to talk to that wouldn't judge them for their how they presented at the moment. I was okay with presenting like I had it together until I became a therapist and holding space for others became what I did for a living. Suddenly I was holding and providing space for my clients, family, and friends but not holding that same space for myself. I say this a lot and I'll say it again boundaries helped me create space for myself. I had to learn that it was okay to say no to someone who needed my time if I needed it more for myself at that moment. I set boundaries with myself first and then learned how to express the boundaries to others. I also had to accept that it's okay to not be liked. Like my teacher, Michelle Young says- "You don't have to be for everyone you are not The Cheesecake Factory".
One way I create space for myself is by waking up early. I wake up before the sun so that I can see it rise. I also like to frolic in the morning taking the first hour and a half to two hours with myself to give myself the attention I know I need from myself. Sometimes I do have to adjust things and in those times I make sure to find that time for myself throughout the day even if it's broken up into bite-sized portions. Time blocking is something that my community says helps a lot and we use it often. It's worked really well for us. We block off times in our day to take time for ourselves even if it is a 5-minute walk away from your desk around the same time every day or focus on a personal project that we have been working on. Those 5 mins add up when they are focused minutes.
Taking up space is just what it sounds like another way of saying this might be allowing yourself to be seen no matter how you look or what anyone thinks; self-actualization. Some people have a huge presence and everyone knows they are there and then you have to person over in the corner that doesn't know how to take up space because they've never had the opportunity to do it in a place or a way that makes them feel safe enough to be seen. They blind in and go unnoticed until one day someone sees them.
Questions: When was the last time you allowed yourself to be seen? Seen as your full version of who you are today? Do you know this version of yourself? If no, I don't know this version of myself, is your answer trust that you are not alone. As we grow through things we change. When you are in relation with others (any relations that are romantic, family, friends, work, etc) how much space do you allow others to take up in your life? How much space do you feel like you take up in your own life?
I want to end on a note of compassion. I co-led a restorative workshop last week and my partner ended on compassion. She reminded us to have compassion for ourselves especially if we have compassion for others. If you hold and create space for others remember to hold and create a little more space for yourself. I also want you to think about those people in your life who have room or make room in their lives for you to be a part of their experience. Tell them how you appreciate their presence because in this day and age it truly is a gift to be loved, to have love, and be celebrated for who you are in whatever version of yourself shows up. I'll go first, I appreciate every single reader, every listener, every supporter. You all allow me to take up space in your life be it big or small you let me have it and I thank you for allowing me to be present. Y'all rock with my light and my dark side and I love you all of that. Thank you for allowing me to show up.
If you liked this blog tell me what you liked about it in the comments. Let's start a conversation. I've made some life-changing connections all because I was brave enough to comment and share on something that I found helpful. Maybe you will too.
Until next time I want to share something that one of my friends did for us this week as I encourage you to keep showing up, keep holding, creating, and taking up space in the world.
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