Why Holding Space for Yourself Is a Profound Practice

Yasmeen El Gerbi
5 min readJul 11, 2020
Photo by EyeforEbony on Unsplash

The term ‘holding space’ is used in therapeutic spaces and it means creating a safe space for yourself where you can sit with your thoughts and emotions without judging them. This can look like taking time for yourself to be still and check in with how you feel. In this space, you are compassionate towards yourself and you acknowledge your emotions fully. It’s a form of a loving self-awareness that connects you with your inner landscape more deeply.

The world we live in has always been demanding in one way or another. Ever since we are born, we are met with conditions, rules, and behavioral codes that we are expected to follow. In childhood, we are punished for “misbehaving”. In adulthood, we are punished in indirect forms if we don’t meet the codes set for how adults should live. And of course, this is a simplification. The issue is much bigger and deeper than the failure to meet societal expectations. Humans often deal with difficult wounds and losses that create deep scars within the psyche. An example of common wounds that many of us carry is fear of rejection, fear of not meeting other people’s expectations, fear of being misunderstood, fear of not being loved, fear of loneliness, and fear of never being good enough. All of this fear circles back to not meeting some kind of standards and expectations that are set for us, whether by friends, family, or the larger society. It also circles back to fear of not meeting our own expectations. This fear has judgement in its core. We usually judge ourselves because we think we are not meeting some standard we believe we should meet. There’s always a space between our current world, and the perfect world (that doesn’t exist) in which every expectation is met.

The wound you have may be very different from the examples above. It may be a childhood wound or a trauma that is linked to experiences other than the failure to meet expectations as the world of emotions is diverse and our human experiences are complex. Though the struggle to accept our negative emotions is universal, and since the opposite of acceptance is non-acceptance, the struggle is in one form or another can be connected to a judgement of our experiences. If we don’t accept a feeling, this can mean that we have a certain judgement linked to it that says this feeling shouldn’t be here or the cause of…

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Yasmeen El Gerbi

I like exploring the complexity underlying our ideas, emotions, stories, norms, and lives.