61 responses to “How to hold space for yourself first”

  1. Jason Bratcher

    I have one that I had commented about in your other article and that is about acknowledging and honoring yourself. I will go into this further.

    8. Honor and acknowledge yourself as a divine and worthy human being. Far too often do we get into this rut of not feeling worthy of being loved or loving others. There is a need and a desire for people to “improve” upon themselves and whereas this can be a positive thing for people it can also be one that can be debilitating because your “inner critic” will come out telling you that you can do better,or you did okay right now but you could do much better,or you arent pretty enough to wear that dress or you arent good enough to work at that job etc etc. The idea is to say to yourself “I am worthy and I am enough” self empowerment doesnt have to mean self aggrandizing or having the ego take over. it is just a gentle reminder that you are okay as you are and that you are worthy and that you are enough. because you are,you are worthy,you are enough and you are beautiful”.
    Thank you for this article,what a great way to empower yourself mindfully and with heart.
    Much Love,

    1. Shannon Crow

      This add is powerful for me today Jason – thank you.

  2. Cris Chater, aka "Strider"

    Hi Heather
    I love your articles about holding space for ones self and others. If you need to hold space for yourself, please come and visit and use my off-the-grid cabin in the High Sierra.

  3. Dylene Cymraes

    Dear Heather–

    I finally clicked on your article about holding space, and it led me here. I am a facilitator and writer, and learned about holding space when I was in training. I have never heard or read it so beautifully described, with such gentleness and love.

    Thank you for reconnecting me to something that matters to me. You added another piece to my emerging picture today.


    1. els vandewalle

      Dear Heather,
      Thank you for describing so beautifully what has been opening up for me recently, I feel what you write and it’s really nice to have read it explained in structured words. Though that is not necessary, it ’s more comprehendable and it feels even more real to me now. Wishing you a beautiful journey with holding space for yourself and others in every place it takes you!
      Kind regards from Els from Belgium

  4. Peggy Eaton

    In supervising for clinical Social Workers and counseling caregivers, my mantra to is, “We can’t give out of an empty cup.” Then, we explore what filling their/my cup would look like.
    Thank you for your service through these articles.

  5. ev

    Thanks for the reminder.

  6. melys long

    Your article has a force so subtle. The message is timeless. Life, creation cycles. Ebb and flow. Your message rings true. Thanks for the reminder. I am a childcare worker and find the the demands take away the essence of what, where, how and when I provide for the places and spaces I hold for others.

  7. Dianne Brottem

    This was passed on to me from a wonderful and kind friend …. this past weekend, March 20th through March 22nd, I felt squeezed, smothered, and broken. Yesterday, I connected with my friend, and she sent your link, explaining that what I was experiencing was absolutely OK …. I’m better today, but I’m saving this as a gentle reminder for my own Journey ….

  8. Carol Hunter Buterbaugh

    i really enjoyed reading your articles on
    Holding Space. I an caring for my husband who has stage 4 cancer it is a lonely job. I get very discouraged at times, but can’t let him see those emotions. Your suggestion in the above articles gave me a new lease on my life. Thank you so much for sharing

  9. Saskia

    Thank you for putting into words so well something that some of us do without ‘consciously’ realising it… and then following up with holding space for self ~ so evidently important! Heartfelt thanks.

  10. Holding Space and pissing off my Human Doing | You. Shine. Now.

    […] to an article from a blog post I found about the subject and hold my current space of silence – click to read. How are you holding space for […]

  11. David hazen

    ahhh…! a very articulate expression, Heather, condensing many things I have learned in 12- Step recovery groups, non-violent communication studies, The Empowerment Dynamic and HeartMath: to trust one’s intuition, placing one’s own peace of mind as a top priority, to trust others’ decisions, to allow vulnerability (Brené Brown), and to ride loose in the saddle of life. You articles are definite “keepers” to be shared.

  12. Donna Bunce

    Excellent & wonderful! I say..Honor Emotions : Meditate not medicate ~
    When we know how to hold space for ourselves then we will not rely on medications…certainly mindfulness skills are real tools to provide a self-container!! Namaste ♡

  13. Where Self Care Begins - Dakota Midnyght

    […] holding space for myself. trusting my own feelings and reactions instead of assuming I’m “always overreacting.” letting go of fears about what others may think of me […]

  14. nancy rathlou

    So happy to find your blog, Heather!My buddy Ted sent your link. I invite you to visit gonewoowoo, you’ll see why I so appreciate your spirit and your message.with thanks:)

  15. Lara Foster

    Thank you for posting this. Thank you for writing this. I love the tips and ideas on how to hold space for yourself. Thank you for sharing how you are doing that as you move through this exciting time of growth and change.

  16. Measurements, Tracking, Goals & Progress | Fostering Fitness Now

    […] We ALL have the capability to inspire.  I see it in everyone through glimpses and moments.  Almost like an ebb and flow.  Some can hold the flow longer than others.  I really find it quite interesting to witness.  This article about Holding Space for Others by Heather Plett is amazing.  It’s about how to be in the current of flow, and hold it (space) for others as they’re moving through very difficult situations in their lives.  But, before you can do that, you need to know how to hold space for yourself.  Here’s another article Plett has written on How to Hold Space for Yourself.   […]

  17. Bev B

    I am a hospice nurse and I find it easy to “hold space” for others, yet I have no idea know how to “hold space” for myself. I think the biggest obstacle for some of us can be giving ourselves permission to treat ourselves FIRST the way we plan to treat others. Thank you for the recommendations.

  18. Link Love (2015-05-09) | Becky's Kaleidoscope

    […] “The other thing that struck me as I read through all of the comments, emails, etc., is that, while all of you are all responding from a place of generosity and openheartedness, wanting to learn more about holding space for others, you also need to be given permission and encouragement tohold space for yourselves. This is really important. If we don’t care for ourselves well in this work, we’ll suffer burnout, and risk becoming cynical and/or ineffective. PLEASE take the time to hold space for yourself so that you can hold space for others. It is not selfish to focus on yourself. In fact, it’s an act of generosity and commitment to make sure that you are at your best when you support others. They will get much more effective, meaningful, and openhearted support from you if you are healthy and strong.” How to hold space for yourself first – Heather Plett […]

  19. Jeffrey Davidson

    Thank you. You have graciously guided us, through example and story and gentle guidance to understand and appreciate. You filled my spirit and gave me hope, even when I didn’t need it. Your explanation is beautiful and I appreciate it. I will continue to refer to this and share it for a long time.

  20. Learning With Heather Plett, Holding Space, T is for Training, and Extended Conversations   | Building Creative Bridges

    […] to ‘Hold Space’ for People, Plus Eight Tips on How to Do It Well” and its companion piece “How to Hold Space for Yourself First” inspired our conversation, there really never was a moment when Heather’s presence in the […]

  21. On holding space when there is an imbalance in power or privilege - Heather Plett

    […] continues to be interest in my two articles about holding space (every week or two, there is another wave of subscribers to this newsletter […]

  22. Lynda

    Thank you for sharing your work. I often forget to hold space for myself and appreciate the guide you offer. Very wise!

  23. Hello, Stranger. | Relativity

    […] battle against feeling. I’m grateful for being reminded to respect the process, to allow myself space to grow, and to trust my own sincerity and goodness – not as perfect but as earnest. I am […]

  24. Lee Buchanan

    Thankyou – came right time and right space for me personally..now refreshing my own support safety net…it is sound..just a bit of mindful mending required! Special of you to share – very meaningful to oh so many of us!

  25. Formation Sunday: Holding Space for Ourselves | Vox New Table
  26. Marina Parker

    Love reading both articles of holding space for others and yourself. Great reminders and insight. Thank you! I have been blessed to have always known the importance to hold a space for myself and agree with all you have said one thing I would add to number 1 “Learn when to walk away” is “Learn WHO To Walk Away From” or better yet “Protect Your Space – By Who You Let In”. In my case, mindful meditation and journaling has been a huge part in helping me identify people in my life that don’t belong in it.

    Not to say these people won’t be invited back in my life; however, each season in ones life needs to be treated wisely… Walking away from those bad influences or negative people allows me a greater space to grow. Walking away also gives me clarity, yet when they are still in my circle it is much harder because their energy tends to drain me and even blind me, all in all I end up giving them more of my power than I would like to admit.

    I now Gracefully take my power back by kindly removing those negative people from my life. Thus, I protect my space.

  27. Rosita Hall

    Thank you so much for this article ~ it was passed along to me by a friend. I live and teach this concept as a former social worker and now as a speaker and trainer ~ but never really had a name for it. I love the Open Space Concept. Beautifully written article- THANK YOU AGAIN>

  28. How I Suck at Success (And You Can, Too) | Let The Love In

    […] Compassionately holding space for myself when my all-too-human heart hurts, and I feel small, sad and ashamed […]

  29. Nan

    Thank you for your wonderful writings. AND for the reminder to hold my space, because so often I don’t until I almost melt away in holding space for others. I will definitely work on it.

  30. lisa

    Heather, thank you .
    the world need more people like you..

  31. lisa

    Heather, thank you..
    the world need more people like you..
    we need the tools and guidance to deal with emotional, physical, and mental situations.

  32. Stephen Jacob

    Dear Heather,

    Thank you so much for your inspiration!
    This is one of the best pieces I’ve seen for a deep healing process that we are all capable of regardless of our beliefs, spiritual, political or other.
    As we do this our world will be transformed, which it is as we live and breathe…
    Let’s do it together!

    Re. “Few things are as healing as time spent in creative practice.”
    I’ve said for many a year that music saved my life – it’s been an anchor when all else seemed lost.
    I am an artist/pianist/composer and slowly continue to add to my my morning practice which currently includes a body/mind workout with yoga, aikido, prayer, sitting meditation, writing and music – the last two a free-form improv. This is the best way for me to start my day and sets me in the best place to deal with what follows 😉

    Blessings to you and all,

  33. Stephen Jacob

    Dear Heather,

    Thank you so much for your inspiration!
    This is one of the best pieces I’ve seen for a deep healing process that we are all capable of regardless of our beliefs, spiritual, political or other.
    As we do this our world will be transformed, which it is as we live and breathe…
    Let’s do it together!

    Re. “Few things are as healing as time spent in creative practice.”
    I’ve said for many a year that music saved my life – it’s been an anchor when all else seemed lost.
    I am an artist/pianist/composer and slowly continue to add to my my morning practice which currently includes a body/mind workout with yoga, aikido, prayer, sitting meditation, writing and music – the last two a free-form improv. This is the best way for me to start my day and sets me in the best place to deal with what follows 😉

    Blessings to you and all,

  34. Julie tomkins

    Dear Heather. Thank you.
    As a telephone psychic, healer and artist, I spend everyday talking to people from all over the world from all walks of life. Most of the time peoples expectation is for me to have a magic wand to turn their lives around. For me to make their decisions for them, so if they get it wrong they dont have to blame themselves….as a healer I advocate everything you say, but its so nice to be reminded. We have just spent a harrowing precious week off in the company of a close relative who is ill, and went against doctors orders to visit. I spent days pouring over alternative healing books,coming up with remedies and regimes for her to follow, out of love and concern. My reward? Criticism towards a personal attribute, from something I did 30 years ago..i had a perm that went wrong..it was said as though I had committed a crime, from then on it was criticism. My husband and I have been lifting one another since. The lesson? Our love together is powerful and we have always been close even after 41 years, we are now on another level.protecting one another. This thank you will also be from him. We have walked away emotionally. I give up trying to please this person, after 59 years finally I have got the message.wishing you much love and light. Xxxx

  35. Marybeth

    This is what being a seasoned nurse is, one who has assimilated beyond the physical, beyond the art, this is the nurse who “gets” her/his patient, and allows their patient not only to be “gotten” but also to reveal themselves on an intimate plane such that the patient also gets the nurse. Ahhhhhhh, peace.

  36. What Facebook’s Awful Name Policy Did for Me, and Why I am Grateful

    […] for reminding me that I need to stop shouting, and I need to start listening. I need to learn to hold space for myself! To be honest, I’m considering deactivating my account for […]

  37. What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well | The Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth

    […] Note: I have written a follow-up piece on how to hold space for yourself first. […]

  38. How to hold space for yourself first | New Beginnings Guatemala

    […] I hope that you will find the time this week to hold space for yourself. Your work is important, and the world needs more generous and open hearts who are healthy and strong enough to serve well. Blessings to you. Source: http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/how-to-hold-space-for-yourself-first/ […]

  39. Vivianne Israel

    Beautiful, valuable and VITAL!

    Viver Israel, R.N.

  40. Lee

    I need to learn to hold space for myself and would like secular based information about this or names of secularists or secular groups doing this, please.

  41. What it means to "hold space" for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well - Heather Plett

    […] Note: I have written a follow-up piece on how to hold space for yourself first. […]

  42. Amy Phoenix

    Thank you Heather. Interestingly I’d come across your other holding space article and randomly scheduled it to post on my Facebook page yesterday, without knowing how much I’d need it at the time.

    Last week my husband was in a bad motorcycling accident out of state and as a mom of five I’m gradually learning how to hold space for all that I’m responsible for… It’s the most beautiful experience really, and yet I really get what you’re sharing here because as a helper it’s easy to rush in to hold space for others when in actuality I cannot hold space unless I’m willing to do it for myself, lovingly.

    Thank you for these pointers and reminders, they’re needed. And thank you for holding space and humanity. It’s needed too. Much love and appreciation for you and the important work you’re doing.

  43. T is for Training 173: Playing Whack-a-mole With It | T is for Training

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  44. Janet Parsons

    WOW… This is exactly what I need at this time. Blessings to You & Your Family.
    In Love & Light,
    Janet Parsons

  45. “I just keep on dancin’…” | banshee187

    […] A friend recently invited me to attend a meeting for a women’s group called House of Your Heart. Last night, I attended the meeting, unsure of what to expect. Essentially, there’s a topic of discussion and participants can share what’s on their minds. The purpose of the group is to provide emotional support and tools to help women break unhealthy patterns of behavior and thought. We discussed what it means to hold space for ourselves and others, allowing us/them to be open and who we are. Throughout the discussion, a stark realization occurred: we are quick to hold space for others, but not ourselves. It really hit home. I left the HOYH meeting with a sense of clarity and a smile on my face. For more on holding space, check out this great blog from Heather Plett. […]

  46. Paulina Richardson

    What amazing articles you have Heather! Truly blew me away. I was wondering if you had this article (“How to hold space for yourself first”) in PDF version? With your permission I would love to print this out (with your name on it of course) for a healing group I am running. Blessings, Paulina

  47. Lea Masiello

    Wonderful exactly what I needed to read right now.thank you for writing these pieces.

  48. Addressing personal triggers. A virtuous cycle of confessions and resolutions. Part 4 | Change Whisperer - Gail Severini's Blog

    […] wrote this post a couple of weeks ago I was fortunate to come across this post from Heather Plett  “How to hold space for yourself first” – the 7 tips are […]

  49. Holding Space through Life & Grief | Gentle Lion Yoga

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  50. Donna Bryant

    Thank you!!! As a social worker I find that I do not “hold space” for myself. Thank you for making me pause and reflect.

  51. Older Sister

    Yep, this is the other side of it :)

  52. Sheryl Harry

    I love this article an the original one as well. My Dad passed away on Dec. 2/15. He had been in hospital for 7 months and six days prior. It was a long, frustrating and lonely time. When he was moved over to the Tertiary Palliative Care Unit (and then the Hospice), it was a huge relief, and I wasn’t expecting that. I realize it was partly because it was much less hectic, but also because this is what they do there. They “hold space”. And they do it so well. Eventually, once I do some healing, I would like to volunteer at the hospice and be able to hold space for others. Thank you for these articles. <3

  53. Suzanne

    My best friend’s husband died last year. She lives over 500 kms from me and it was a couple of months before I was able to go and stay with her for about a week. Previously I was there for her on the end of the phone and provided a container for her during what was a very difficult time.

    This year in February, she discovered that she had breast cancer. I am a very busy teacher and it was a hugely busy time for me. I live on my own and do not have family or other support in a practical sense and was quite depleted. I also have an animal family to care for. I simply did not have the wherewithal to go to stay with her. The only thing I could do was text her every week to let her know I was thinking about her and to send a present of some healing crystals and a card.

    I struggled a great deal with this decision and the conclusion I came to is that I had to honour my own life first. This is her journey to make and she is surrounded by people who know a lot more about cancer than I do. She also has family support and is in a very different and more secure financial and material position than I am. I could not stretch more or offer more. I am also not sure if she would understand the place from which I am coming. I felt very guilty and yet knew that if my life fell apart that would only add to the stress I already felt.

    The lesson in all of this for me is that I have to honour my own life first and give to myself. If I can stretch more and it will not damage my own life, then I may be able to offer more. It does not mean that I do not care about my friend, but that my life matters too and attempting to care and give when already depleted does not help anyone.

    This is my friend’s journey, not mine. I have held the space for her over several years and even more last year when her husband died. Perhaps it is wise to realise that we are not god-like and need to recognise our own humanness and limitations and then our caring and giving comes out of a more truthful space.

  54. Caring for a dying loved one at home | thanadoulaclothilde
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  57. Princy Arora

    Loved ur article. Holding space for others has changed my outlook.
    All i want to ask that in holding space of others for our partners, how do we make them feel that er expect something from them which they are not paying heed to. Will this not be a compromise and sacrifice from our side to juz let our partners “just be ” of how they are or whatever they are (i.e careless in my case ) to their loved ones. how do we tell them that we expect love and care of this kind from them. I am confused regarding my relationship due to this :(

  58. amy

    If you are a single parent struggling with support bringing up a child/children alone, you won’t be going on a weeks retreat for a good 16-18 years!

  59. Trish

    Hey a thanks mate, just read both these articles – holding space for others and self – exactly what I needed to read! Xxx solo mum, long journey, but dang I’m going well all things considered! Because of people like you, putting words like these, out on the net. Thanks from me, and those who rely on me (my kids, family and friends). Take care ✨

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