A theme the past week in training and coaching has been around space. Noticing whether we take it up, grab it back, lean into it, create it, or simply hold it or be with it. All of these actions have different impacts. One of the major impacts of space is permission. Permission empowers vulnerability. Vulnerability empowers connection. We as humans are hard wired for connection. Bottom line: Space is important.
When we take up space or grab it back, we take permission with it. We take away the opportunity to be connected with others in those moments. We close our heart s off. We don’t allow others in. We take up space or grab it back by being emotionally hijacked, coming from a perspective of scarcity, making assumptions, taking things personally, or being aggressive or defensive to name a few.
When we lean into, create, hold, or be with space, we extend permission for vulnerability for ourselves and others. We show up and we stay in the space with whatever is present, and needed. Sometimes there is a verbal acknowledgement of what’s in the space, sometimes it’s just energetic—a smile, a touch, making eye contact. We lead out in trust. We lead out in being vulnerable. We engage in perception checking to test for accuracy. We acknowledge our emotion or the emotion of others. And most importantly we stay. We stay in the space. We connect to what matters, not to what we are afraid of.
Several years ago I was traveling through an airport and there was a young woman sitting with no one on either side of her. She was clearly having emotion about something. Her eyes were swollen and red. It was clear she had been crying. It was as if she didn’t exist in the space. No one was acknowledging her. I made the choice to sit next to her and said something to the effect of she looked upset, was she ok. She looked up at me teary eyed and said her father had passed away suddenly. I said I was so sorry for her loss; did she need anything, maybe water, or something? She held my gaze and thanked me for acknowledging her, and sitting with her. She said everyone was ignoring her and she’d felt invisible and alone.
That moment was a moment of intense and beautiful human connection. It was a moment of being in the space, and holding the space. A moment of being vulnerable and connecting to what was needed.
To be seen.
Where do you need to lean in, create, hold, or be with space?
Where do you need to be seen?
Where do you need to see?