Tara Darlington, of Empowering Motherhood, is coordinating the Women’s Leadership Symposium being held in Sydney on 23 November 2019. She has asked her ambassadors (of which I am one) to put themselves “out there”, and say what we have learnt about “holding space for yourself”. I take that to mean appreciating yourself as much as you appreciate everyone else in your life.
When I have held space for myself, I have had greater clarity. As my friend told me when I moved into that frame of mind: it’s the clarity KC, it’s the clarity. That line regularly comes to mind, so much that I eventually bought myself a ring that says ‘clarity’ on it.
I have done whatever I could think of to help the people I love. I like to be proactive. I do not like to procrastinate. And I do not like putting my head in the sand. But at certain points I realised it did not matter if I did anything or did nothing. People only change if they want to and are ready. And while I waited for that turning point, I got burnt out, I forgot who I was, got lost in the endless trying to do right by others. And then I was the one who was in the shit. If nothing else, I was simply bloody exhausted.
I got onto the ‘mindfulness’ bandwagon, even co-writing a chapter about it with Dr Sarah Pinto. We both found ourselves starting to just take one moment at a time. I literally went around the garden smelling the roses. I took time to breathe. I started doing some art and playing the guitar again. I realised I had to take care of myself first, to have the strength to properly support anyone else. So if you are feeling you’ve hit the wall, just take it one half hour at a time. Try and remember what it is you enjoy, and then do it. Even just a little bit. Sounds so simple, but it helps.
Eventually I found my way to conversations with Tara and she takes this thinking and practice of ‘holding space’ further still. What I think this all leads to is a stronger sense of self, the ability to identify what direction you’d like to go in, and then build your own resilience because let’s face it, shit happens. And sometimes it happens all at once. Every now and again, after the wave washes over you, it’s important to make the space for yourself so you can revive and replenish. Only then can you put your best (or a better) foot forward.
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