Episode 52

Published on:

11th Jul 2023

When You're Easily Lost About how to Support Others; The Importance of Holding Space -52

In this thought-provoking episode of The Grit Show, we delve into the transformative practice of holding space, an essential skill in today's fast-paced world. Tune in as we explore the transformative power of sitting with someone's emotions without rushing to change their emotional state or “fix” their troubles. It's the importance of creating a safe and supportive environment where emotions can be explored and understood without judgment.

We'll reflect on childhood friendships, the challenges of holding space for people we interact with the most (often family members), and the impact of societal pressures on emotional well-being. As we navigate through personal experiences and share insights, you'll gain valuable tools and strategies to strengthen your relationships and boost your own emotional resilience. Join us on this powerful journey of growth and discover how holding space for others can ultimately lead to personal transformation. Get ready to unlock the true power of authentic support on this episode of The Grit Show.

***Stay tuned for upcoming conversations on burnout, the differences between coaching and therapy, and the importance of adult friendships.***

Shawna Rodrigues left her award-winning career in the public sector in 2019 and after launching The Grit Show, soon learned the abysmal fact that women hosted only 27% of podcasts. This led to the founding of the Authentic Connections Podcast Network intent on raising that number by 10% in five years- 37 by 27. Because really, shouldn’t it be closer to 50%? She is the Director of Impact for the network, which offers full-service support for podcasting from mentoring to production. In September 2023 they are also launching the EPAC (Entrepreneurs and Podcasters Authentically Connected) community for those in early stages and wanting a place for weekly connection. She still finds a little time for her pursuits as a best-selling author and shares the hosting of Author Express, a podcast that features the voice behind the pages of your favorite book. Find her on Instagram- @ShawnaPodcasts and learn more about the network and other happenings at https://linktr.ee/37by27.

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Shawna Rodrigues [:

Have you ever given much thought to what it means to hold space for someone? to just let them experience their emotions and be there as a support for them. It's something I put a little more time into this past week, and thought it might be something we could spend a little more time chatting about. So this week on the Grit Show, it's going to be me here chatting with you solo so that we can spend a little more time delving into this. It goes along with the theme of emotions and feelings and actually experiencing them and our ways of growing into that a little bit. I know. Maybe not everyone's favorite topic, but it is pretty important, especially when we give a little time for reflecting. I'm glad you're here today.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Welcome to The Grit Show, where our focus is growth on purpose. I'm your host, Shawna Rodriguez, and I'm honored you part of this community as we journey together with our grit intact to learn more about how to thrive and how to get the most out of life. It means a lot that you are here today. As you listen encourage you to think of who may appreciate the tidbits of knowledge we are sharing and to take a moment to pass this along to them. Everyone appreciates a friend that thinks of them, and these conversations are meant to be shared and to spark even more connections.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

This past week, I had someone who's dear to me that was having a really hard time. And my first instinct was to try and fix it. It's so funny. I have a master's degree in clinical social work, a clinical license, years of experience, And I really think people expect that I would be good at this, and I'm not. I'm really not. I still have that first instinct to go into my head, and it's interesting. I wonder if that is me as a person, if that's Western Society as a way of doing things, or if that's just my first instinct that it's easier to go into my head and rationalize and fix and think through things.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

And I know I'm not alone. I know other people are that way as well, and I'm curious how common that is or how much When life gets busy, when things are overwhelming, that's what we default to. My background, which you may or may not be aware of, is working with young kids in early childhood mental health. And it is amazing now that I'm at this stage in my life in my career, where I kinda moved on from doing that work and moved into more administration and oversight of programs and technical assistance, building things, doing other work instead of doing the direct service and doing the therapy and the work individually just maintained my clinical license and that background. But it was amazing to me that I'm now having this reckoning and realization that all the things that were instinctive that I knew to apply for kids really apply for adults. That When I worked with kids, we'd work with helping them identify their emotions, that this was a baseline thing we did for kids, that they needed help and understanding what they were feeling about the array of emotions and those experiences, and it was something I was skilled at teaching kids, at teaching parents how to work with their kids on these things. And yet, as an individual, as a young adult, as an adult, as an immature adult now. It's not something I'm very good at. It is something that when you tell me to say, like, how are you feeling? I will not give you a feeling. I will give you a state of being. I will give you a thought. I will give you other things instead. And it is interesting how much? I know I've grown at points in time around that, but how much that is my initial instinct? For certain friends and certain circumstances, I can be very good at sitting with emotions, and there's people that I cherish deeply that I'm great at being quiet and sitting with. But there's people that I've known a long time. I just need to say it, my family. It's my family that I have the hardest time with because I think that's the delineation. Right? that when my family is having a hard time that I want to instantly snap into fixing it, repairing them, making it better, telling them how to act, telling them how to be, telling them how to experience things, resolving the problems, and I'm not as good at just letting them feel what they're feeling, and experience what they're experiencing, and holding space for them. And I would think that a lot of my friends Think I'm really good at doing that for them. I don't know if all of my friends I know there's people that I'm closest to in nearest and dearest too because that's, like, a reciprocal thing we do for each other that I know they're good at holding space for me as well and letting me feel things and that I can let them feel things, and they can let me feel things, which, admittedly, when I've loved across the country, and I think for all of us during the pandemic, when Our primary social interactions were via zoom or via the phone or from a distance because we were all socially isolated. That's not something that's easy to do. I did catch myself with someone who was having a really hard time this past week, and it was somebody that was at a distance for me, that it was really hard because I couldn't just sit with them, and that's something easy to do over the phone.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

So I wanted to think about that with all of you a little bit and talk about that a little bit. We'll talk family because I think that's easiest to talk. Right? That's where it's probably hardest to do. Like, with your kids, with your partner, with your siblings, with your parents, with your family, whoever you consider family, is that who it's hardest to just sit and be in emotions with? I have a hard time sitting with my own emotions at times. Right? So is that the people that we have the hardest time doing that with? Do we want to instantly better them, get them to a better state, have them feel better, have them improve their state in their situation instead of letting them feel the feelings. And with kids, it's something that has always come naturally and that I get it. and when parents are in a store and their child is having a meltdown, I feel like as a society, we're pressuring that parent to hurry up and resolve the situation with their child because we don't wanna be inconvenienced with a child to meltdown, which is horrible because as a society, we should be able to let kids have meltdowns and experience emotions and be -- poured in those moments instead of parents feeling judged in those moments because it's part of growing up. It's part of life that we have meltdowns. And Unfortunately, we don't live in a world where we have all the supports we need, where everyone is filling financially secure, They can work the minimal hours needed so they can be rested and able to manage family home duties as well as outside obligations to be able to have a solid income and have the supports in their home. It used to be that multiple generations live together, and there was multiple people to help care for kids. So kids would have the option to not be going from place to place and be tired to worn out. And so we have a society that pushes kids and parents to feel strung out, exhausted, and worn thin, though all it takes is being told we are not going to buy the frosty, sugary cereal. we are going to only get what we came here for to cause a complete meltdown. And it's not that parenting setting that limit was good parenting. Right? The child's reaction is having a reaction of learning limits and not having the capacity to deal with limits. and they're gonna have a meltdown. And that's okay because that's where they're at. And instead of that parent feeling like it's okay for their child to have a meltdown and for them, to be able to say it's okay. You're upset. You're feeling really strong emotions right now because you wanted that, and you couldn't have that. And it's been a long day. You just need to cry right now, and that's okay. Yes. That's very upsetting. You're feeling really strong emotions. You're upset right now. or just sit there in silence and let the child be able to feel all those emotions and just be there and support them and say, I'm here for you when you have strong emotions. It's okay to have strong emotions sometimes. We all get really upset sometimes. Instead, they feel the need to stop that display of emotion because they're getting dirty looks from 5 other people in the store because their child is making noise. and children's supposed to be seen and not heard, and they feel ashamed and don't know how to react because their parents felt ashamed and silence them and shut them down when that happened, and that's how those things work. That's The cycle we're stuck in. Right? So we don't hold space for kids. So it was easy for me to learn and understand that concept. And yet, as an adult, What a family member is having a really hard time. My first instinct is to negate the situation and to think that if I let them have these big, strong emotions that somehow I'm justifying their contribution to the situation. Right? And that It's the same thing as that parent, feeling if I say it's okay for you to be upset right now, I'm saying it's okay pay for you to be mad when not being able to get sugary cereal, themes like an illogical reason to be upset. But really, It's them learning about strong emotions, about boundaries, about how to handle going to the store after a long day, being at the store where it should be now, time. Being of sex are 2 other things that happened today, and this was the final straw because we've all had days where the handle breaking on the mug creates a meltdown because it was the last straw for us as adults. Right? Parents will feel the need to not condone the child getting upset because the sugary cereal or the stranger is judging because it's around sugary cereal instead of actually having this ability to recognize that just because you are holding somebody and letting them experience difficult emotions, and acknowledging that they're having these emotions and letting these emotions work through their body because, again, I'm starting to realize which is absurd at my age that I'm just now realizing with my degrees and my background and my trainings. The feelings are supposed to be felt, and you need to feel them and let them work through and go through that tunnel and get to the other side. Others you can't get to the other side. So if I don't let a family member fully experience those feelings, they're just bottling those things up, pushing those things down that are just gonna erupt later, erupt in different ways, or cause physical ailments that's the manifestation of those unresolved things that they're experiencing and have such bigger impacts because we aren't processing our emotions. And that goes to the burnout that we're all experiencing, right, that we're talking about, and we're gonna talk about more. and later episode. And luckily, because I had recently gotten feedback from somebody about the importance of just being allowed to experience emotions without questions. without judgments, without being asked to explain themselves without anything. They were just allowed to have the emotions. Have the breakdown. And it's not until you have that breakdown that you can experience the emotions that are inside of it that you can find out what's really going on that you can actually get to where you can find what's happening for you and what you're feeling. And so When someone else comes to us in that space, we need to honor that. And I think that I don't do that enough. for specifically my family. I think they're friends I do that for, and not all the time, especially when I'm really busy. I don't think I do that enough for some of my friends. But because of that and being reminded of the importance of that by somebody who was saying how important that was for them, I was able to, and it was via text thankfully. Right? So I could modulate myself. If it had been in person, I don't know if I would have been successful. I think I might have gone into that trying to fix or my face would have shown that I'm processing all of this to my brain instead of just being with them in the moment. But via text, I wrote deleted wrote deleted wrote deleted and came to a place of being able to say, like, this must be really hard for you. I wish I was there with you. I don't remember the exact words that I wrote, but I had that in my mind that I just needed to hold space for them. And I was able to communicate that and the next day when something else happened. They were able to call me, and they specifically thanked me for listening. I also didn't do a great job. I messed up a little bit when they called me. I'm still not perfect, but they definitely thanked me for just letting them be able to call me and tell me what they were experiencing. And the situation's still not resolved, and I gotta see you guys. Maybe. I might have gotten a d. but it was still only sea level work. I still have a ways to go with it. And that's hard for me, clearly. And I think that if my closest friends were listening to this podcast. They'd be surprised because for my closest friends who do that for me, they'd be surprised because I can do that for them, and that comes more easily because they do that for me. And I'm comfortable with the silence with them. But I have patterns. I think with siblings, with parents, with your kids, with the people who have known you, for your lifetime, those patterns are so much more complicated. I think that we just revert to something totally different. I'm very curious about that and why I can be so different in other circumstances. I feel like in the last 3 to 5 years, 5 to 10 years maybe. But in the last section of time, things have been really challenging, and I wonder what percentage of time, I've actually been able to do that for the people that I love and care about to actually give them that space. Because I haven't had as much of that space. And I haven't allowed myself as much of that space. That space is so important, and I don't know if we give it to ourselves.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

If we just let ourselves fill the emotions, or we're so busy doing. We're so busy trying to get it all done. busy trying to accomplish and push through. Be all the things to all the people? Whether it's for our family, for our partners, for our friends, for our work that we may care passionately about,

Shawna Rodrigues [:

but it takes so much. but we aren't going to feel the emotions and process the emotions until we have that space. So if we aren't giving ourselves that space, if we aren't holding these places where we can actually let ourselves experience all of these things that we're holding.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

So we can actually work through them and get to the other side of them if we don't do that for ourselves. We don't have a capacity to do that for other people. So if you find yourself being dumbfounded by this concept I'm talking about, Maybe it's because we need to start with ourselves. Maybe it's because you're not given yourself space. And I loved my conversation with Doctor Rishma. If you did not hear that, you really need to go back and listen to that. That was just Last week's episode. But she talked about her relationship with her partner and to be able to tell each other what they needed and Definitely felt like holding space to me, but you need to hold space for yourself first. And it helps to have people in your life and in your world that do that for you and make that for you. But you're gonna wanna give it back to them too. And if you can't make it for yourself, you can't make it for them.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

So that's today's conversation. That's today's thought for all of you is about those emotions and going back to who that person is that you feel you can hold space for? The one friend, the one time in your life? even if it's not a friend you have now, go back to when you were 12. Go back to when you were 10. And think of that one friendship where you could just sit in silence and be with somebody.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

And remember what that was like, because you deserve friendships like that. You deserve relationships like that. and you need to start honoring yourself with that. Then you can just be with yourself and let yourself experience whatever emotions you need to experience. And we'll go back to what I did with the little kids. Right? of just being able to name the emotions, which I'm not good at. And it's funny because I'm nervous right now. That's an emotion. Right?

Shawna Rodrigues [:

I'm nervous to name my emotions because I'm nervous that I'll start naming thoughts instead of emotions because that's what I do.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Because that's what I tend to do. I don't go to feelings. I said I thought to control feelings, and that's not how it's supposed to be done.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

You need to feel the feelings and experience them and clear them out Then there is room to use your thoughts, to be able to move you in the directions you need to go. and for them to be the propeller because otherwise, these feelings are going to be these unconscious drivers that are holding you back and pushing you in different directions, because they don't like to be ignored. They just well up and clog up and manifest physically. They manifest. There's no such thing as somatic. The term somatic drives me crazy. I had some really good stuff doctor Bruce Perry is something they've always looked up to, and I recently heard some stuff from him talking about and made me so happy. I already admired him in his work. He did a lot of stuff with early childhood, but his ability to really see that alignment. And you've heard the wonderful medical professionals that we've had on this show that have been able to really see that alignment, that those things are all connected. We're getting a little bit down here, but we're getting focused. So to be able to feel those feelings. And even if you can't name them, okay. I'm not great at naming them overwhelmed. Is that a feeling? I'm not sure. But there's definitely a lot going on, and I need the space to just be able to process them. Some of you might know. I'm in the process of selling a house and moving, and it's so interesting that things were moving very quickly. And I was grabbing on and flying along with it, and things just flew off the rails and the cell of the house fell through, and the house you're trying to get or removing fell through, and things were just, like, falling through. And it was interesting because I was like, You know, I was the one saying I wanted to be right where I'm at in Portland for more of the summer, and I wasn't quite ready to move this fast. but I was holding on for it because I realized it was a good thing. And, you know, apparently, the power is a meaning to slow down. were stronger. There was that episode not long ago where I talked about that need that I wanted to just stop and celebrate. Yay. I got my house ready to be on the market. we just celebrate that for a little bit instead of running right through? Okay. Now now I gotta gotta get it sold, and now I gotta pack up. And now I gotta book movers, and now we gotta move and fight a new place and move my business and everything else. So I definitely have been feeling a little I don't know the words. See, I don't know the words. teach them to kids, and yet I don't know them for myself. Just a lot of emotions, a lot going on. So I need to fill a little bit more space, a little bit more openness, and that goes into the self care piece. And the wonderful thing about where we are moving to is that it's a very, very short trip. in multiple directions to find water where I can go kayaking and stand up paddle boarding. And being on the water is my soul's joy. And if there's these fantasies I have about living on bodies of water, and water is definitely a cell for my soul. And so that is my little piece about what I'm doing for self maintenance. And the little self maintenance piece is that I am going to be on a boat tomorrow, and I was on a boat. last weekend, and this is going to be a regular thing for me. And it's been a little while since I had something like that as a regular thing for me, and I'm very, very excited about it because it does my soul good, and I feel like I have space when I'm on a boat on the water. So that makes me happy, and that is my self maintenance that I'm implementing to help me feel a little more spacious and a little bit more like I can roll with everything. So our grit wit is for you to actually reflect on a time when you felt like You were able to give someone space for you to actually think about A time or place where you were allowed are able to sit with someone and let them feel hard emotions. and not had to fill it with words. Or if there were words, they were definitely just comforting words that allowed them to feel those feelings and that didn't direct them to solve anything to justify anything, to stop what they were feeling, to feel like they need to gather themselves, or shift directions as they could just experience them. And while you're reflecting on that, if you find that spot and that time, whether it was when you were 10,19, 25, yesterday, 2 months ago, 3 weeks ago.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

As you reflect on that, to think about the value of that and think of a time someone has done that for you, or if you've been able to do that for yourself. And think about what that feels like. And I really want you to think about doing that for yourself. Just give yourself space and let yourself feel what you need to feel. and then sometime in the next 24 to 48 hours. when there's someone in your world, probably somebody in your house. or somebody close to you this known you a long time when they're having a strong emotion to see if you can actually pause And instead of trying to fix it or advise them or judge them or shame them or react to their emotion to just be able to join them in that emotion, to offer them silence and return, and possibly even words of things like those do really hard. I could see that was big for you. I'm right here. It's okay. It's gonna feel weird because you're gonna feel like you're being patronizing possibly. But I just encourage you to try it. If it blows up in your face, send me notes, tell me that it did not work, and I will own it, and I will feel it. But I was surprised at how effective my notes of writing somebody and saying that must have been really hard. And I know that I can't fully understand it, but I wish I was just there to be with you right now. because via text, as I told you. And that via phone, I stumbled a little bit more. They said something about the other person involved, and I want protect the other person, so it was really hard. But they still said, well, you know, I just need to talk about it. So think of it for me. Just talk about it. Maybe if I did mess up a little bit. But be curious. I'm just learning with all of you and trying to be better about holding space for people, and maybe by holding space for others, I can hold more space for myself. because I think we all need a little more space. But thank you for being here. I'm glad to come back each week. And I'm excited about the weeks coming up. I have some exciting conversations scheduled on the books. We're going to get to the conversation talking a little bit more about coaching about therapy and the kind of differences between the 2 and what you need to do to show up and have either them be what you need. There's a good conversation someone's asking me questions about that, and I wanna give you guys some food for thought around that. And some great conversations are 1 year anniversary is coming up, and I'm really excited about the interview I have lined up for that to talk more about friendships and adults and how you make friends as adults. You know? We're not the same as being people on the playground like it once was, and post pandemic is a little more challenging in just what is a value in adult friendships than maybe holding space is part of that, as well as some other quality things that I think you guys will enjoy around burnout. And some more of this conversations around experiencing emotions and the importance of finding ways to deal with them so that you don't get burned out. You're not just running the same place at the same time. So thank you for being here. It's always a joy to connect with you, and I appreciate your time and that you shared it with me.

Shawna Rodrigues [:

Thank you for joining us today. I hope you enjoy this episode. Be sure to jump on over to Instagram and follow us @the.grit.show and if you aren’t already following Authentic Connections Podcast Network @37by27, you should definitely be doing that as well. Don't forget. You are the only one of you that this world has got, and that means something. I'll be here next Tuesday. I hope you are too.

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About the Podcast

Growth on Purpose
Are you a giver and a doer? Are you someone who has shown your grit and powered through, and now you're ready for the other side? Now you re looking for the conversations that remind you about self care, that bring to mind grace and understanding, and give you space to reflect on purpose. Do you want more room to breathe and to live life with a little more ease? Each week, we discover tools and ways of thinking that support alignment, build stronger connections, help us find better questions, and live our best life. Most weeks we laugh, some weeks the topics touch close to home, but ultimately; this is where we grow together as seekers and thrivers. The Grit Show - growth on purpose. https://podcast.TheGritShow.com

About your host

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Shawna Rodrigues

Shawna Rodrigues, Podcast Strategist and Founder of Authentic Connections Podcast Network, Host of The Grit Show (https://podcast.thegritshow.com), co-host of Author Express (https://bit.ly/AuthorExpressPod), and coming in 2024- Authenticity Amplified. Shawna is passionate about increasing the number of podcasts hosted by women, an internationally best-selling author (www.shawnarodrigues.com), and a sought after speaker & consultant.
Find her on Instagram @ShawnaPodcasts.