You have probably heard the phrase holding space. A lot of times we say this as holding energetic space for people. Allowing people to receive what they need and being someone able to help create that space. It could be a space of love, compassion, support, faith, understanding, and listening. We can sense what people need and help create that energy for them to experience. We normally look at holding space for people in a positive way. Trying to help someone through something and support them on their healing journey. But what about those times we hold energetic space for people to be at their worst? We create a space where we give them permission to be at their emotional worst. Letting them express what they want, how they want with no regard for anyone else’s emotional or energetic needs. Unfortunately, most of us have done this or are still doing this. We may think we are being nice or kind by allowing another person to work through their issues. But what we are doing is holding a space of no boundaries for ourselves and allowing others to energetically throw up all over us. Yes, I know a bad visual but effective. So how can we tell when we are holding a healthy space or if we simply lack boundaries and allow others to take advantage of us?
For Empaths (people who can feel and are sensitive to others’ emotions) making this distinction in what is holding a healthy energetic space can be confusing. Empaths often believe to love someone is to give without boundaries. Showing love and care by holding space where others can fully be themselves. Where other people’s needs are a priority no matter what the cost to the person holding that space. We may find ourselves in patterns of always being that person that people can be at their worst with because we understand, we can take it, or they need us. But what we can fail to understand is that we are only creating a space with no rules or boundaries to protect or respect our needs and allow the other person to do whatever they want. That is what loving someone can look like to an Empath without healthy boundaries.
You might have a friendship where you are the constant listener. A friend has the same problems over and over. They never seem to be able to solve it. So you listen, hold space, give advice, and ultimately give time and energy. You think this time we got this! I can help. Try doing this or maybe that. And you may come up with the perfect solution. The person might feel better. They walk away ready to take on the problem. Meanwhile you feel exhausted and drained of energy. But you chose to hold that space for them because you are trying to help. You are positive they will solve the issue this time. But they come back to you a week later with the same problem. Expecting you to hold that space for them yet again. Do you see the pattern? The friend doesn’t want to solve the problem. They just want the energy from the space you are holding for them. While you think you are helping them…..again. This is a common example of holding an unhealthy energetic space.
When you are holding a healthy energetic space, you should walk away feeling good, not drained. You share in the energy with the person instead of giving all of yours away. You can give advice, support and love. But you have boundaries not to be drained of energy or time. The person receives what you share and does not demand more. You are able to share that energy with someone that respects and appreciates it. Using the example above, the friend would have taken the love and advice and used it to heal how they needed. They may get a new perspective, try a different way or will take some action. Or at the minimum they would respect the time and energy you shared with them. You will walk away feeling good by sharing in the energy with them. You will not feel depleted or drained. This is the huge difference in holding a healthy energetic space for someone.
Look at some of your experiences holding energetic space for people. Is it done out of obligation, a sense of duty or is it sharing love in a respected space? Do people demand your time and energy and make you feel shame or guilt if you don’t? Do you feel like you are the only one that can help them? No one else understands them the way you do. Re-evaluate how and when you are holding energetic space for people. Take an honest look to see if it is healthy or are you holding a space without boundaries or respect for your own energy. Re-define what sharing love means to you. Who and when do you want to share that beautiful gift of love with? The more aware you are of holding healthy energetic space the more you will attract healthy relationships into your life. Respect yourself enough to understand your boundaries and see how your relationships can improve!