Mastering Fear: How To Take Up Space
You deserve to take up more space
If you’re anything like me, then you aren’t naturally the loudest person in any room. I consider myself more of a silent observer in most social situations, though if necessary, I will freely speak my truth. If you are the loudest person in the room, that’s okay too! As long as you’re being loud because you want to be loud and you’re not in a library or anything like that.
Today we’re talking about taking up space and so far I’ve only mentioned using your voice, but there are several ways that we can take up space and feel like we belong in the various rooms of life. You can take up physical space, emotional space and verbal space, if there’s a space to fill and a presence to be felt you have the right to use up every square inch, decibel or pixel of that space.
So why don’t we? What is it that often keeps us from voicing our opinions the way they pop up in our heads, or wearing an outfit we genuinely like or publicly changing our minds, or stating an unpopular opinion? The answer is not as simple as I’m about to make it seem, but it can be condensed into one word: Fear.
The fear of rejection; fear of failure; fear of what others may think; fear of letting people down; the fear of imperfection and the fear of being seen. These are all at the root of our hesitation to take up space. Sure, confidence and low self-esteem can also be lumped into all that too, but at the heart of low self confidence and low self-esteem is one or more of those fears.
Perhaps, you’ve lived your entire life being told ‘you need to lose weight’, ‘you need to tone down’, ‘ladies don’t behave that way’, ‘you don’t belong here,’ ‘you don’t fit in here,’ or any variation of that nonsense that way too many of us have had to deal with. These start from very early in life so by the time we get to a place where we start making our own decisions, we decide to shrink ourselves and stick to the evils that we already know.
We’re hardwired by the time we’re adults to filter things through a broken screen and it often times comes out sounding like: “That’s just my opinion at least, I could be wrong”, “I mean maybe I’m just crazy or stupid or something, but...” “If I go on a first date, I can’t eat too much because...” or “If I apply for this job then people will think that I...” or how about, “I can never do that. People like me never...”
Fear manifests in a myriad of ways; some are more overt and some more subtle than others. But, if you find yourself in a room in life, living at only half your capacity, then I want to challenge you to start taking up a whole lot more space!
WHY SHOULD YOU TAKE UP MORE SPACE?
It is a demonstration of self-acceptance
It is an act of self-love
You reclaim your power
You are more likely to be successful
It will bring you freedom and joy
You never benefit from making yourself small
Because it is your right!
HOW DO YOU START TAKING UP MORE SPACE?
MORE THAN JUST AN AFFIRMATION
Fear is a mind game. It is real. It is crippling. It is debilitating. But it is a mind game. For you to start taking up more space on the outside, you’re going to have to start taking up more space on the inside. If you picture your mind as a building, are you cowering in one corner? Are you caged in a room? Do you roam freely, interacting with every thought and developing who you are and what you believe? If you don’t free yourself on the inside and occupy every room in your own mind, you will never feel free to occupy external space. Before you start affirming yourself, start exploring yourself. Explore your imagination, your gifts, your opinions and your preferences. Before you can declare who you are you have to know who you are. Get to know yourself and become comfortable in your own skin.
KEEP A JOURNAL
It may seem weird that so far, I’ve said nothing about buying a PA system and declaring your presence when you enter a room but bear with me. I swear we’re getting there.
Keeping a journal is again, more for you than it is for anyone else. If you can get completely honest with yourself about the areas you need to work on, then you will be able to address them. As you make progress, jot it down. It’s important to celebrate your victories especially on the days where you feel like shrinking back all over again. When you keep a journal, you have it right there in black and white just how much of a bad-ass you can be and it encourages you to pick that bold tail up and try again.
FEEL THE FEAR
I know. At this point you just think I’m crazy. I just said fear is at the center of it all so what gives? Well, here’s the thing. Even when it comes down to the way we feel, there’s a bit of dictation too. “Oh you’re just scared to do that because...”, or “Maybe if you...”
I can’t tell you what keeps you from dominating a space. Frankly, no one else can. You’re the only one feeling the feeling. It is 100% your fear and yours alone. So the next time you think about doing something bold or demanding the attention you deserve whether with a new outfit or hairstyle, I want you to allow yourself to feel the fear. Sit with it for a second. Analyze it. Strip it down to nothing, stare it in the face and then call it by name. Introduce yourself to that fear and then put it in its place. Tell the fear where it belongs and then do the damn thing anyway! (Louder for the people in the back-let them hear and see you)
For example: “I’m afraid if I post this people will think I’m crass and insensitive.” ('Cancel culture'- This is at the heart and soul of many of our fears, especially as women).
Why do you feel that way? Because once you said or posted something and someone asked you how you could ever think that was okay to post (because they got offended).
Your internal dialogue can go something like, “Is this post hateful? Is it illegal? Am I doing this with the intention of hurting someone else?” No? Then post it. Will someone be offended? Most likely but you know what? They are offended because of where they are in their lives, what they’re dealing with or what they believe. It isn’t your responsibility to shrink yourself to accommodate them. It is your responsibility to set yourself free to be authentically you.
OKAY NOW FOR THE BULLHORN AND THE POWERPOSING
Challenge yourself daily to step just an inch out of your comfort zone. Every day, do something that instinctively makes your heart race and your mind buzz with what-if questions. For every what-if, I want you to come back with a so-what? Flex your self-awareness and stand boldly in your truth. Laugh loudly, eat the steak, cut your hair, get that piercing. Whatever it is that you wanted to do but thought you didn’t deserve to do or were too worried to do, build yourself up to doing it every single day. The more you take up space the more comfortable you become taking up space. You find the joy of authenticity and learn to love the people who love you for you and understand truly who you are.
Show up for you. Show up for the child inside you who believed nothing was impossible. Show up for the man or woman inside you with the big dreams and the bold ideas. Open the door, step inside and own that space. You deserve it and the world needs everything you’re trying to hold back. You are uniquely you and that my friend, is your superpower.
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To The Future You!
“It was when I dared to take up space that I claimed my place.” ― Becca Lee