Rumi - what you seek is seeking you

Have you ever been having a difficult time and you reach out to a friend for emotional support, and after talking to them you end up feeling worse than when you started? I think we all have and I think we’re usually not taught how to support people we love, or how to support ourselves.

When we’re having hard time and talking to a friend most of us want:

– to be seen
– to be heard
– to be validated

Most of us don’t want:

– to be judged
– to be given advice
– to be told to be more positive
– an attempt rationalise our feelings
– projections of others’ experiences
– sympathy (not to be confused with empathy)

To be supportive of your loved ones in a deeply nurturing & loving way is to ‘hold space’ for them. Holding space means literally creating a safe space for them to share their thoughts & feelings.

This looks like:

– giving them your full attention and eye contact, if you’re in person
– asking questions, such as ‘how does that make you feel?’ and ‘how can I best support you?’
– active listening, repeat a summary of the information they’ve told you back to them asking if you’ve understood properly
– showing understanding and empathy, that you can put yourself in their position and imagine what they’re going through
– if appropriate & with consent give them a hug or hold their hand to show you care & to help their nervous system co-regulate with yours
– where possible be encouraging of their journey, how well they’re doing and how loved they are

What not to do:

– toxic positivity…do not try to get them to find the positive before they are ready. If you start a sentence with ‘At least…’ stop talking! E.g. at least your diagnosis is not worse
– give advice – there is a time and a place to offer advice, but if someone is expressing & processing emotions it’s usually not helpful.
– explain away/rationalise their feelings, emotions are not rational and that’s 100% ok & totally normal
– look at your phone! It’s so important to be present when someone is being vulnerable with you
– don’t make it about your experience of something similar or someone you know. There may be an appropriate time to share a story, but everyone’s experience is unique to them
– judgement – we all have different values & expectations, however we are all human and that’s what connects us. Even if you disagree with the circumstances surrounding the issue at hand, can you have empathy for the human who is suffering?

How can you hold space for yourself?

This is really the starting point…if you are in need of support first ask yourself what you need and what you can give yourself. For example are you very tired and need to take some out to rest or are your thoughts swirling and would it help to take some time to write them all down – brain dump – to get some clarity?

We can hold space for ourselves in just the same way we do it for others, we want the same things from ourselves as we do from others; to be seen, heard & validated.

This looks like:

– stop what you’re doing and give your self a few moments to breathe and acknowledge how you’re feeling
– tune into what this experience feels like in your body
– tap into your intuition to discover what you need in this moment
– write out or speak out your thoughts & feelings (recording yourself on your phone if you’re speaking)
– read or listen back to your self expression and imagine the author is a beloved friend or your own child – how compassionate would you feel towards them? Now direct that compassion to yourself
– write down or speak out supportive & encouraging words

Taking exquisite care of & holding space for ourselves is our first priority, and we can usually only support others to the level of tenderness we offer ourselves. However, we need others and self support on its own is not enough. Self regulating your nervous system is important, but so is co-regulation with others.

Imagine a world where we are experts at holding space for ourselves & others. Imagine emotions being processed gently & with love. Would there be less numbing behaviour? Might there be far less addiction? On a larger scale would our leaders act with more compassion and would we take better care of our environment?

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Rachel - Intuitive Life Coaching client

"Since I have been speaking to Gemma regularly I can honestly say that my whole life is shifting in a way that I didn’t think was possible for me. She is a very special and inspirational lady, I look forward to our sessions and hearing her unique and articulate views on the world and the way it can work for us. I used to think things happened to me and now I know I can learn to live my life my way. Thanks to Gemma. My life is only getting better from here on. Don’t hesitate. Get some Gemma Ford in your life today!"

Emma - Intuitive Life Coaching client

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John - Marketing Consultancy client

Gemma is an amazing life coach, she has been a huge help to me and made a great difference in my life, from boosting my motivation to guiding me with taking action toward my dreams. Gemma is empathetic and supportive, she also assisted me with strengthening my intuition and moving forward with my career. I have seen tangible and desired results with my goals during and since my sessions with Gemma. I'm so grateful for this experience and I've been given powerful tools to keep me on track. I would highly recommend working with Gemma if you're feeling a bit stuck with where you are at in life and need some guidance and coaching."

Erin - Intuitive Life Coaching client

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