Are you uncomfortable taking up space?
The ability to take up space reflects the belief that your voice, your opinion, your feelings, dreams, are valid.
When my clients do not feel comfortable taking up space, it shows up in several ways:
They struggle to follow through on boundaries
They become the cushion that absorbs the discomfort for other people
They often believe that they can handle discomfort better than others so they should take on more responsibility for others
Often feel disrespected or unseen in their relationships
Believe they must earn or deserve a place in their relationship
Concede their own wants or needs
Minimize their presence
Do not protect themselves from boundary intrusions
Request permission from a spouse to do things the spouse regularly does for himself without asking
Don't speak up until it becomes such a large issue that they explode
There is a deep fear that if they do speak up and take up space they will be considered
They often feel torn between wanting respect, intimate connections, boundaries, a place in the room
AND fear of being rejected, left alone, and truly known.
When fear wins they feel walked all over and ashamed for being weak.
The solution is not to change the people around them, demand respect or even fight for space
It is much, much closer to home
And involves peace.
It is to begin to believe that they are worthy of space.
That their opinions, feelings, beliefs, dreams are valid.
That there is nothing to fight over.
If you want to have the peace of having space in your relationships, this is a process you can begin right now
Get to know your thoughts, feelings, dreams, opinions. What are they?
Be yourself now. Speak up. Don't wait until you are ready. People who were raised in an emotionally unpredictable environment often learn to watch for cues from others before they proceed. They stand on the sidelines waiting to get a feel for the others in the room. Challenge yourself to jump in without using others to decide who to be in this moment.
Feel the feelings.
I want you to be prepared, though. Although these steps are simple...they may not be easy. Here are some things to be aware of.
You will probably feel terrible for a while. All of the emotions you have been avoiding will come up when you practice just being you. Notice the shame, the awkwardness, the fear, the uncertainty, and stay with you. If the deepest fear of being YOU is being left for being you...don't YOU be the one to abandon you when you need you most.
People who have been used to benefiting from a lack of boundaries may up the ante. They may respond with increased anger or control. This doesn't mean you are "doing it wrong".
People may choose to leave. Some people, especially those who are not used to "allowing" you space, may not like the new situation. Although this can be hard, it is making room for people who can make room for you.
There is an "opening up" that happens when you make space for yourself in the world, and especially in your marriage.
It feels accepting, peaceful, enlarging.
You get better at giving yourself space to be yourself
You get better at giving others space to be themselves
You give yourself permission to be a human who makes mistakes
Who has important and valuable input to share
You can give more freely and authentically
And receive love, acceptance, compliments, attention, good treatment more freely
You respect yourself more
You can share without guilt and shame
Feeling worthy, deserving, loving, loved without having to "earn" it through people-pleasing
You teach others how to treat you by how you treat yourself.
In the words of Danielle Coke, "You were created to do good work. Work that empowers and inspires, liberates and transforms, restores and softens. Yes, work can be hard-as it was meant to be. It provokes, agitates, and disturbs. But this work...is good work."
My friend. You are worth this work. You deserve, by birthright, a place in the room.
Your contributions are important and valid.
If you learned when you were young to stay small...you can pass something different on behind you.
Please reach out for a free discovery call if you want help through coaching to do that.