How to Hold Space Without Abandoning Yourself

Have you ever had the experience of melting into another human being involuntarily, to the degree that you lose yourself entirely (it’s terrifying)?

Have you ever walked away from an interaction where you held space for another person feeling drained, frustrated or resentful?

Have you walked away not even sure anymore quite where the other person ends and where you begin?

Are you an empath who was parentified or enmeshed as a child?

Do you overly entrain with others, or take responsibility for caretaking others emotionally, sometimes to your detriment?

If you’re nodding your head right about now, I get it.

As a crystal child and a boundary-less individual who has spent years of my life staying safe by hyper attuning to and pleasing the people around me, I understand this tendency intimately.

What I have found is that my unclear sense of self, coupled with a survival strategy of care taking others caused me to live with the ache of self-abandonment. Eventually, the price of my integrity became too high to pay. Some people call this “codependency.” I call it an outdated coping mechanism. One that really hurts.

When we grow up in environments in which we are offered poor mirroring (defined as consistent affirmation of a child’s emotional states, thoughts and experiences), we may have gained approval, connection or safety by tending to the needs, wants and wishes of others. In this type of an environment, it is almost impossible to differentiate/individuate from the adults around us and to develop a clear sense of personal boundaries.

We are not guided towards developing a strong sense of self, even on an energetic level. Instead, we live our lives at the mercy of how the adults around us are feeling. We feel tossed around by their moods. We feel responsible for making sure they are ok, and making sure we stay in their favor. This will especially be the case if we had alcoholic, mentally ill, or narcissistic adults in our early lives.

What are boundaries? Boundaries are your sense of “I.”

Boundaries are communicated to me by the part of me who knows clearly and definitively how I feel, what I think, and what I need in any given moment. Boundaries show up in connection to my physical body, my own thoughts, my emotional core, and my psychic knowing. Boundaries are not necessarily a “no” to others; they are a “yes” to myself. They are my responsibility to know and honor.

When we don’t have that sense of self, we’re going to make all kinds of choices which are not in line with our true purpose and worth as a Being. Especially when we are strongly empathic, we may negate our boundaries for the sake of others.

There is nothing wrong with helping others. The frustrating fact is that many of us know that our healing work on planet earth at this time does involve helping others. Many of us cannot help but to use our gifts (especially the hyperattunement and extreme empathy we may have developed in part due to the traumas of our past) to help people to heal their hearts, bodies and minds.

Additionally, attunement, empathy and space-holding are essentially required for any level of intimacy in relationships. And intimate relationships—be they with friends, family or partners—represent so much of our happiness and fulfillment.

The crucial thing is to see, however, that this form of relating by way of attunement and empathy is a choice, and we must be willing to develop the capacity to say “no” to helping others if it means abandoning ourselves. We need to claim our “yes” with our whole being, if it is in fact a “yes.”

Moreover, we need to know how to make this choice from a place of personal empowerment and self-allegiance. Often, we don’t know how to do this, because over-entrainment is so automatic for us, it is programmed into our very bones. So instead we may go into avoidance patterns when we feel that sense of overwhelm, groundlessness or loss of self, and push others away entirely. This results in a very painful push-pull dynamic in relationships.

The first step in shifting this painful pattern of hyper-attunement and self-abandonment is to recognize when you are doing it, and what it feels like. This requires connection and attunement to yourself, your emotions and your body.

Once you have this awareness, you can begin to play with how it feels to shift your focus towards your own energetic experience, and track your sensations and emotional currents. Eventually, you can get to a place where you are fully attuned to others, while also being fully attuned to yourself.

Many psychics, channels and metaphysical gurus will tell you to create psychic barriers around you by visualizing walls or an impenetrable bubble. While this practice has its place, I believe it can also contribute to a fear-based “othering” that does not align with or acknowledge your innate power as a Being to transmute energies, rather than having to guard yourself against them.

Would you like to learn a new way?

My new class, “Holding Space for Others Without Abandoning Yourself” will cover the following topics in a supportive, uplifting and practical way:

*How to identify when you’re abandoning yourself.

*How to stay in your body as much as possible.

*How to use your body’s signals like alarm bells, and heed their information.

*How to trust your gut.

*How to communicate your boundaries when you need to.

*How to feel your own energy field and contain more of your energy for yourself while sharing space with others.

*How to appropriately apply compassion (it’s probably not how you think).

*How to tune into your power center and align with it to speak your truth.

*How to identify relationships that are incompatible and weed out the ones that aren’t healthy for you.

*How to identify and shift a core self-concept of shame.

*How to unhook and unwind trauma patterns that perpetuate the cycle of self-abandonment for the sake of others.

*How to empathize with, validate and hear others without losing your sense of self or abandoning your perspective.

In addition to the video and visual content you’ll receive in this course, you’ll also be able to join a special love Q and A broadcast just for class participants, so that you can ask any questions that will help you to deepen your understanding of the course material and implement it into your own life! If you can’t make the Q and A, a recording will be available.

Join me in creating a new paradigm!

It‘s one in which empaths and healers are vibrantly alive in their own power, and using their gifts to uplift the collective with self-awareness, grace, strength, and ease.

We need our precious healers to, as my friend Margaret Burns once said, to “save their healing balm for themselves.” We need empowered empaths and healers who know how to conserve their energy, connect with their source-stream, and utilize their potent power in more intentional, more self-loving ways.

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copyright © 2020 Julia Phoenix Eleven.

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*Disclaimer: I am not a licensed psychotherapist or psychiatrist, and cannot offer medical or psychiatric advice.