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How to Stop Fixing Emotions and Just Hold Space

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My grandmother used to say, “You can’t fix emotions with a bandaid,”  Her point back then was that emotions didn’t need fixing or problem-solving.  They needed an entirely different approach that made space for the feeling, and having someone hold space for another person in the emotion can leave lasting impressions of safety, comfort, and support. 

Holding space for someone in their emotions or their experience is a profound act of creating a sacred container where someone can fully express themselves without fear of being judged, criticized, or rushed through their process. It’s about being fully present with them in their moment of need, offering them your undivided attention, empathy, and unconditional support.

It’s recognizing and respecting the significance of their feelings, acknowledging that sometimes, what’s needed most is simply to be heard and understood.  When we hold space, we address a fundamental human need—to feel accepted and secure in the midst of our emotions. Often, this stems from experiences in our past, where perhaps we didn’t receive the validation we sought.

Holding space is not an action; it’s a state of being. It’s about embodying vulnerability, creating room for stillness, and granting permission to acknowledge and sit with one’s emotions without reservation.

It is about giving them permission to move through the process without feeling invalidated or rushed. When you hold space, you are meeting a deeper need to feel ok and safe in the feeling they are having…that may be a need that wasn’t met in childhood.  Holding space is not a doing. It’s a being moment that teaches vulnerability, space, stillness, and permission to exist with a feeling. Here’s an inspirational video on holding space: 

Is there a formula on how to stop fixing problems and start holding space instead? Here are some guiding principles to help you on how to hold space:

Practice Presence: The first step in holding space is to be fully present with the person you’re supporting. Put away distractions, set aside your own agenda, and give them your complete attention. Show them that you’re there for them, fully and unconditionally.

Listen with Compassion: When someone shares their emotions or experiences with you, resist the urge to judge or analyze. We’re all human, and we may all have been there or know the feeling they are having. Instead, listen with an open heart and a compassionate ear. Allow them to express themselves fully without fear of being criticized or invalidated.

Validate Their Feelings: Let the person know that their feelings are valid and worthy of acknowledgment. Offer them reassurance and empathy, letting them know that it’s okay to feel whatever they’re feeling and that you’re there to support them no matter what.

Create Space for Silence: Sometimes, the most profound moments of healing occur in the quiet spaces between words. Allow for moments of silence and stillness, giving the person time to process their emotions and find their own way forward.

Offer Unconditional Support: Above all, let the person know that you’re there for them, no matter what. Offer them your love, your presence, and your unwavering support without trying to fix their problems or change their experience.

Holding space is not about doing; it’s about being. It’s about showing up for someone in their moment of need and offering them the gift of your presence and your love. So the next time someone comes to you with their struggles or their pain, remember to stop fixing problems and start holding space instead. You’ll be amazed at the healing and transformation that can occur when you simply offer someone the gift of your presence.

Here’s to embracing the art of holding space and supporting each other on our journey towards healing and wholeness.

With love and compassion,
Wendy De Rosa

P.S. If you are looking to develop your intuition, sign up for my free course here!