Written by Karen Loethen, LCSW
This month I’ve been noticing something extremely common. People apologizing for just being. Sorry my purse is on the table. Sorry for taking a moment of your time. Sorry for making a sound. Sorry for occupying this space. Sorry.
Some men apologize often. And women? Wow, many of us apologize A LOT. We apologize for our very presence sometimes. I’m here to tell you to PLEASE TAKE UP SPACE.
Many of us have internal monologues that tell us to shrink ourselves, erase ourselves, invalidate ourselves. This internal talk is going on 24/7. These internal messages are not true; they just get constant replay, so they feel true. Most of these messages were taught to us through our family or our religion or our very culture, so we can’t blame ourselves for having to battle the thoughts. They came to us without our permission and took up residence.
It’s very possible to take back our space. Through good therapy and hard work, you will be able to take small steps necessary to notice that you do exist. For example, put your purse on the table, take out your lipstick and a mirror, and add a nice new coat of color. Tell the old, tired messages that they are no longer needed. No one at your table or anywhere around you will notice or judge you. That’s all been a total sham this whole time. Fix your make up without apology and stay in the conversation. You’ll feel empowered; because you did that.
Reading or researching something new and exciting? Share it! Find the room that is open to your passion and excitement and look into the eyes of people who are also energized by learning new things. Tell the messages that remind you to sit quietly to take a hike. Many people are out here just waiting to hear about that interesting new information that you can share.
So stand boldly, look the room in the eye, and share whatever is on your mind! You never know who you might inspire with your brand new assertiveness. That single experience will build self-confidence and self esteem. Because you did that.
Are you beginning to wonder if this current relationship is really good for you? Are you waiting for the other person to make a move? You have every right to leave a bad relationship before it gets truly toxic or unhealthy. Being in some relationships actually makes us feel smaller, diminished, somehow. It doesn’t require a perfect explanation. It doesn’t require approval from anyone else. It doesn’t require notice. If you are in a relationship that feels negative or stifling or not supportive, leaving that relationship is an amazingly freeing step to take. A step that will affect your entire sense of self. Because you did that.
Extend your arms to put your coat on. Get the sex you deserve. Request better seats. Stand anywhere you like. Speak up. Change your mind. Express your values. Tell your truth. And just BE.
OCCUPY SPACE, My Friend. You are valid. You are worth seeing. You owe no one an apology for your existence. You are totally worthy of occupying space.