The Practice of Taking Up Space

As women, many of us are taught to be demure. To stay modest. That if we assert ourselves we're bossy, that if we are relentless in pursuing what we want, we're a bitch.

Many of the women I love most in life do the same thing I've been doing: shrinking. Making themselves smaller physically, emotionally and socially.

But I've had enough of it, as I'm sure you have.

It's time to take up the space that we deserve.

What does it mean to take up space?

I'm talking about taking up space in every sense of the word: making space in conversation for your voice, making space in people's minds with your presence, and unapologetically taking up physical space in this world.

But I don't want to be rude, you say. I don't want to be an attention hog.

Taking up space and showing up for yourself doesn't mean anything at the expense of others. It doesn't mean that "you only" get to have a piece of the pie, it means that "you, too" get a piece of the pie. And it should be just as big as everyone else's.

Why should we take up space?

I've been on a journey these past few weeks to rediscover and reignite my own self-confidence, and this is a large part of that growth. When I feel seen and heard, I reconnect with who I am and why I'm here.

Everyone has something to offer, and it's up to you to decide whether or not to share it. Want to make a change for yourself or someone around you? Start taking up space.

If we're not able to show up for ourselves, we'll end up in a place of stagnation.

How to practice taking up space

The easiest way to start integrating this practice into your daily life is with your physical posture. I love Amy Cuddy's TED Talk about body language and how it affects our self-image and self-confidence:

I find it easiest to practice taking up space when I'm walking. Instead of putting my hands in my pockets or folding them, I spread my shoulders wide and let my hands hang purposefully at my sides. I look up, not down at my feet.

You can practice this socially by jumping into conversations. You can post opinions online or share causes that are near and dear to your heart. You can literally carve out a corner of the internet for yourself and start a blog.

Let this be permission to indulge yourself emotionally, too. Allow yourself the space to feel whatever it is that you're feeling, and don't invite shame or guilt to the party.

The biggest thing holding us back from taking up the space that we deserve is ourselves. So show up for yourself today and claim your space in the world.