Holding space for yourself is like creating a bubble, and going inside your bubble and choosing what can and can NOT come into your bubble.
It can be as small as giving yourself 10 minutes of quiet before rushing off and doing everything that everyone else expects of you.
Or it can be as big as not letting let the world come in and tell you who to be and what to do - which means you give yourself the space to create your life the way YOU want it to be.
Or it can be anything in between.
Learning how to hold space for yourself is one of those foundational creative dreamer things that make everything else about your Dream Work more effective.
There are two different parts of this: creating space and holding space and you've got to be doing both for this to work.
You create space by doing things that mark out the boundary of the space you are giving yourself.
You hold space by doing what it takes to police that boundary.
As a small example: I just stopped doing my free live coaching videos on Tuesday mornings. This was a way of CREATING more space for myself to work on the Year of Dreams 2017.
Once I'd announced that I was doing that I did have people ask if I could do it just one more time, because they missed the last one.
And that's where I had to HOLD the space by saying NO.
It's really not enough to create the space, holding the space is where the real work comes into play.
This is where people tend to fail with holding space and having boundaries.
You expect other people to hold them for you.
HOLDING the boundary is YOUR job.
HOLDING the space if YOUR job.
You can't just make the decision, state what you are doing, and be done. You need to be ACTIVELY HOLDING space.
So think about the ways that you'd like to create and hold space for yourself.
Think about the other people who will be disappointed by this. And think about how they are likely to react.
And then design a boundary that preserves the space you are creating for yourself.
Now, the people who read my blog and take my classes tend to be exceptionally kind people. So when I set a boundary about not doing something anymore, they understand!
They may ask for what they want, which is totally valid. But they don't freak out on me if I say no.
And the few times over the years when someone has freaked out and been abusive towards me for something like that - I just block them. I don't have to read those kinds of emails, that's my boundary.
Notice I'm saying I block people who freak out at me about free things I offer. Whenever a customer has a problem with something I am doing I talk it through with them as long as they are willing to engage, because I have an agreement with them. Healthy boundaries are not the same as ignoring the agreements you've made and abdicating responsibility for your behaviour.
Because holding space is not just about creating physical space or time space - emotional space is really the most important part.
What I need right now as I work on my Year of Dreams 2017 is free creative space, filled with:
- exploration + discovery
- creativity + purpose
Engaging with people who are upset with me for not offering a free service anymore really doesn't fit with those qualities so I'm just not going do it.
EVEN THOUGH it's uncomfortable for me to know that people are out there unhappy with me!
In order to truly hold space for yourself, you have to stay in integrity with your agreements.
My Creative Dream Circle members have paid me to be in the Circle. We have a clear agreement about what I'm offering and how I'm offering it.
I will not break that agreement in order to work on another project - that would be gross.
Plus I'd have a LOT of angry people around me which wouldn't help me create the space I need for myself.
I made no promises about the free live coaching videos going on forever. I gave notice that they were stopping and did one last video.
I know that not everyone sees everything I say so not everyone saw the notice or got to be at the last video. But I also know that I ended those videos with as much grace and integrity as I could.
This is what makes it easier for me to hold space for myself.
By handing the situations with as much grace and respect for all involved as I can, I fill my part of the boundary with grace and respect.
I can't control how others will react but I can do my best to set things up to be as gentle as possible through how I treat people.
Sometimes you have to talk to people about changing your agreements in order to create the space for yourself that you need. Again, approaching these conversations with compassion and respect brings as much grace as possible to these negotiations (though they're not always going to be easy).
So I'm saying creating and holding space for yourself is delicate work.
It's really about creating and maintaining boundaries.
But "normal" boundary work is about dealing with unacceptable behaviour and creating boundaries around it.
This is NEXT LEVEL boundary work. This is how you use boundaries to create the space you need to become who you want to be.
It's holding space for your healing and growth.
Of course, people who haven't given themselves permission to really pursue their dreams are not likely to be super supportive of you setting boundaries with them so you can pursue yours.
But are you going to let that stop you? No.
Here are 25 ways to hold space for yourself and your dreams:
- Remind yourself that you matter and your dreams matter, like all the time - put notes about this in your daytimer.
- Be super intentional about your time management.
- Explore what it would mean to be loyal to your joy.
- Be more committed to your dreams - do the things that scare you. (GET SUPPORT to do this if need be - I can help you here)
- Say no to things that don't help you move towards where you want to be. Start with small things and work your way up to the big things.
- Think very carefully about whether or not something truly serves you before you say yes it.
- Turn down the volume on social media.
- Turn up the volume on your own intuition. (hint: it speaks more loudly when you listen and follow through on it's guidance)
- Put yourself first. If you're not used to doing it, then start in really small ways and work your way up.
- Learn to leave others to their consequences of their actions without trying to rescue them. This is uncomfortable at first but ultimately liberating for all parties.
- Keep your eyes on your own work. Comparison will not get you to where you want to be.
- But be genuinely happy for other people's successes.
- Face your fears. Avoiding uncomfortable feelings means they are controlling you.
- Go to therapy or a woman's circle or join a community of kindred spirit Dreamers or something like this for support.
- Plan a weekly journal-coffee date with yourself and your dreams.
- Say no some more.
- Unsubscribe from anything that isn't helping.
- Write love letters to your dream.
- Get rid of your TV.
- Examine your beliefs about what you think is possible for you. Find ways to stretch your possibilities.
- Know how you want to feel and how to help yourself feel that way (it's easier than it sounds).
- Don't answer the phone.
- Spend more time outside.
- Spend less money. Really! A lot of our spending is actually driven by un-helpful unconscious patterns to stopping spending stops the patterns.
Do you see a pattern here? Holding space for yourself is about being wildly committed to living your truest life.
Learning to hold space for yourself changes everything. You have the power to create and maintain these kinds of sparkle-tastic boundaries I'm talking about - you just have to learn how to harness and use it.
I mean this is what creative dreaming is all about.