Holding space for someone

door | 15 mrt 2018

What does it mean: to hold space?

Holding space means that, even though you don’t see them in person you are with them and walk side by side on their path. You support the other person, without judgement or try to steer them in a direction you want them to go. No advising, no pushing solutions, or giving them any idea that they are inadequate. You are with them and support them with an open and soft heart. Holding space in Dutch, I am not familiarized with a Dutch saying or language for this phenomenon. Ruimte houden is not something we use in our language.


The base of holding space is that you move from having deep trust that the other person is totally capable in making wise decisions for themselves and their loved ones. Trust that she/he has a deeper intuitive wisdom in moving forward in their lives. Something is not taught to us in school. There we move away from intuition and learn in a cognitive way to make decisions.

Busy busy busy

How do you hold space in a rushing busy world? So often I hear about someone’s difficult issues and I have the intention to hold space for them and call more often. Then I am overwhelmed with clients, assignments, administration and other (un)important stuff. And I feel guilty afterwards. Sometimes I do hold space but it is difficult in reaching the other person, as they are not returning my voicemails. Which make them feel guilty.

Practice makes wise people

Holding space is something our world could use more of. Instead of all the judgements and opinions. Step into the shoes of the other person first. And practice holding space for them. If you want to know how: Heather Plett is an expert and gives 8 lessons in holding space and how to do it well. In the link below you find how you can practice holding space for others. I myself suggest the following three steps in holding space:

1) Find a silent spot if possible. If not available: you can also do it behind your desk or in other places. Aim for a quiet moment for both yourself and the other person. Mind you: it is not about you but all about the other person you feel for.

2) Then, in your heart and thoughts be with the person who could benefit from your support. Send your love, warmth and energy to them throughout the universe. Put your hand on your heart and listen to it and feel it. Be gentle, respectful and without judgement.

3) Breathe slowly in and out and experience how you are feeling. After a while you might experience that a change in your body and energy will occur. That’s the moment to slowly let them go. Until you will ‘return’ and hold some more space for them. Some people might even say to you they felt that you were making contact or call you a few moments after you held space for them.

For more information: www.heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space

Erna van Lingen is een veelzijdige professional en auteur van blogs en artikelen die gaan over leven en werk in de breedste zin van het woord. Haar blogs creëert ze zelf, zonder ChatGPT of AI in te zetten. Ze zijn authentiek, creatief en uit het leven gegrepen. Erna traint, coacht, faciliteert en verzorgt ontwikkeltrajecten gericht op het aanboren van de kwaliteiten en talenten van het individu, het team en/of de organisatie. Samen met de ander onderzoekt ze waardevrij wat krachtig en helpend is en wat beter of anders kan. Samenwerken, waarderend kijken, openheid en verbindende en geweldloze communicatie kenmerken haar werkstijl.

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