No one has any more right to space than you do. That may sound obvious, but it doesn’t come naturally for some of us to take up space due to various reasons such as trauma, anxiety, neurodiversity, etc. Whatever the reason you struggle with taking up space, there are small but significant steps you can take to start claiming your deserved space on this planet.
There’s enough room for all of us, really. I don’t know if anyone told you, but our universe is, uh, kind of a big place. And there’s a whole damn lot of people in it. One’s brilliance doesn’t take away from another’s. Your light isn’t taking others away, it’s lighting the way for more people. And your right to explore and enjoy who you are and the world around you isn’t less important than anyone else’s, I promise.
I do want to mention that sometimes there are very good reasons why you wouldn’t feel safe taking up space in a situation and I am in no way advocating for you to put yourself in danger. Use your best judgment and adjust as necessary.
Take up physical space in your home by stretching, dancing, or doing yoga. First of all, moving and stretching (if your body allows it), are good for you. It improves your circulation, helps release the feel-good chemicals, and keeps your muscles limber and healthy. Also, there’s merit in making yourself bigger, standing tall, straightening your spine, stretching your arms out high, wide, or on your hips in a Wonder Woman pose, widening your stance, and taking some deep breaths. Own that space, because not only do you look awesome and strong af right now, but you are choosing to occupy more physical space than you might normally. And that is a definite win.
Claim some auditory space. You don’t have to be quiet and small. Be loud and passionate. Be a fucking bird and do your thing. Singing a song, talking loudly, or laughing out loud in your home or car or even an empty field can give you a sense of taking up space on an extra level than just physically.
It’s your world
Claim space in the world. Explore. Pretend you’re an entitled tourist and take a walk, take photos, or stop and check out something cool without feeling like a burden or silly. Take your time looking at the candy in the checkout line and remind yourself you have just as much right to your space and time as anyone else there and literally no one around you has needs more important than yours (unless there’s an emergency, obviously.)
Grow baby, grow
Allow yourself to change and evolve — to grow. I’m not sure you can truly grow unless you’re giving yourself permission to take up more space. Remind yourself that no one who matters is going to be bothered by a beautiful flower blooming bigger and brighter.
It is your time to shine
Do things you enjoy just because you enjoy them, not because they are productive or constructive. Play a video game, color in a coloring book, sing into your hairbrush, do cartwheels in your yard, or binge a tv show on your day off, but do so without guilt or shame. Claiming pieces of your time is taking up space.
Then move on to the advanced stuff like setting boundaries, asking for what you want, and stopping apologizing. Repetition is a key in learning, period. So, we have to practice these actions to get better at them, like any skill.
Start extra small, start with a friend, start scared, but start taking up your beautiful, well-deserved space because the world needs that. It needs you and your you-ness, and it’s time you start believing that.
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Nikki is a photographer, writer, artist, and advocate of radical self-love. She writes about mental health, gaming, sex, and inclusivity.