What does this even mean? What does it look like or feel like to make space for other people? What does it feel like to make space for ourselves? It’s these sorts of questions that I’d like to talk about today.
Space, what is it?
Space is a simple thing really but it can be a bit scary for those of who are uncomfortable with uncertainty, especially in moments when we stronger emotions come up or when we are in the presence of another person. But even if we look at this, it’s not that space or the unknown is scary, it’s how our minds quickly judge it and project our fears into it. Space is simply that, space. It’s raw and its completely open and vast. We all have flashes of it but we make quickly dodge by checking our phone, day dreaming or engaging in something else. When we do this we don’t quite realize the immense value and importance of this space.
Space is a sort of mirror for us that reflects back our minds to us. This is why it’s so helpful! But many times we’re duped by our minds and oblivious to its sneaky ways and that’s because our relationship with our mind hasn’t been developed. Specifically, it tricks us into thinking that something outside of us causes what we experience inside and so we remain ignorant to our own mind. We honestly don’t know any better and so our mind runs us. Therefore, our task is to learn how the mind works.
When we understand ourselves, we naturally start to understand everyone else.
What’s really cool about allowing more space to be present is that we can come to really know our mind, its habits, where they were born and we can reflect upon how it works and how our emotions arise in certain situations. If we first allow space to get to know ourselves, it will naturally translate into more space in our relationships.
The mind is complex, infinitely complex, and this means that everyone is in the same boat. We naturally make meaning of the actions of others but are we aware that we make meaning? Maybe this is the first time that you’ve ever thought of this. Each one of us, based on our entire life before now, makes meaning of what happens now based upon what has happened before now. But the question is, is our meaning correct? This is where space between us and in our relationships is vital.
Do we feel understood? Cared for?
The process of incorporating space in a relationship so we can start to feel understood and cared for is also simple but challenging. It also takes a lot of practice. But the more we practice, the quicker it becomes a new and healthier habit. It generally involves slowing down a bit in our discussions, increasing our awareness of what our mind is doing during a conversation, becoming more aware that we don’t know the meaning the other person is trying to convey and making purposeful efforts to clarify and understand them.
When they talk, we allow them to talk. We have a natural or soon to be natural desire to really understand that they’re saying because they’re important to us. So here we can see that a genuine caring needs to be present. Slowing down and allowing for pauses is really important but this can be the most challenging for us. And since we’re all different, our process of learning how to make space for oneself and the other person is unique. That’s why it’s helpful to work with someone so we can learn how to do all of this.