I remember a version of myself that would be intimated to voice her opinion and wasn’t confident enough to feel like her thoughts mattered and people would want to hear them. For so long I allowed myself to box myself into a corner. Then that corner became my safe space. When I was presented with situations that I should have showed up for, I felt content with my corner because I knew there would be no one to judge me. I can only imagine how many others that may share the same feelings as I did and have created their safe space corner as well.
Over the years I realized, yes this corner is safe, but by allowing myself to stay there I was making myself small and hindering my own growth toward a better version of myself that I didn’t think was possible to become. I remember being 22 years old and someone telling me, “You can only grow when you step into what’s uncomfortable.” That has always stayed with me. At that moment, I realized I can’t be bothered by how uncomfortable I may make someone else feel by the way I may dress, wear my hair and my curiosity to ask a lot of questions. I have to stay true to myself and the only way I could do that is by making sure I take up space unapologetically.
What does it even mean to take up space? Taking up space means allowing your presence to be known and not feeling wrong about it. You deserve a seat at the table just like everyone else that is sitting there. It means not allowing yourself to second guess yourself when you have something to say. Taking up space means boldly wearing your hair how you want to work, school, or anywhere, even if it may not be socially acceptable. It’s about having the confidence to be who you are without feeling like you have to filter yourself. So if you aren’t already taking up space in the different areas of your life.
Here is how you can start taking up space:
1. Speak up, say and ask difficult questions
Don’t be afraid to challenge people. Sometimes you have to have the courage to say what others won’t. When you ask difficult questions, that sets the tone for others to know you will speak up for what you feel is right.
2. Own who you are
Create your own style and don’t be afraid of what others may think about it.
3. Identify one thing you’ll always refer to that makes you feel confident
Give yourself a pep talk! Before walking into the door of a meeting at work, gather yourself and go in prepared! When I’m nervous I always look people in the eye. It makes me feel like I’m making myself seen, which makes me feel empowered to show up as I am.
4. Don’t settle for no
Be willing to go after what you want. Don’t give up on what it is you want so easily. You deserve everything you manifest. So don’t let it stop you from going after what you want.
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