How much space do you inhabit?

A few months back, I went to an entrepreneurship meet-up. There was a presentation, followed by an open discussion. There were about 20 of us – but there was this one guy who took up way more space than everyone else.

Not in a bad way; he wasn’t arrogant or pushy or overly verbose. But somehow even when he wasn’t speaking he was taking up more space. People began looking at him when a question was asked.

He was a natural leader.

I sat there fascinated and mildly envious; how was he inhabiting all that space?

Me and my space

I’ve always been pretty sucky at inhabiting my space in groups. I used to put this down to shyness, but I’ve discovered over the years that it’s also partly because I’m an observer – I like to assess the group dynamic thoroughly before deciding to what extent I will involve myself.

Another aspect is my respect for other people’s attention; if I’m going to ask for it I need to have something important to say that will be of interest to the whole group.

But there’s something else at play as well.

My tendency is to move through the world taking up a minimum of space, making myself as accommodating as possible.

Which feel like it’s founded on ego-bullshit and I’m over it.

Why it matters

When we’re not taking our space, not fully showing up, we’re massively reducing our power to create, to manifest, to have impact.

Also; our behaviour creates feedback loops.

We continuously learn about ourselves through our contact with the external world. When we show up with only 30% of who we are, that’s what we get reflected back at us. Not surprisingly, that can make us feel small and powerless.

Showing up fully is also a question of energy release; when we don’t give the world our energy we create blockages within ourselves. An energetic feedback loop that stays circling within us instead of being released into the world and coming back to us in new forms.

Another important point is that when we don’t own our space, we don’t feel seen.

And not feeling seen leads to feeling disconnected.

Humans are expressive beings.

We have an inherent need to express ourselves, to create, to manifest ourselves in the external world.

Some will argue this is a direct result of our knowledge of our own mortality; the desire to leave part of us behind in the world.

Whatever the grounds for the drive, it’s there.

Not listening to it is a recipe for deathbed regret and a life of frustration.

Owning your space

Something I’ve noticed that’s helped me to inhabit more space as I move through the world is connecting deeply with everything I am before I make contact with it. With all the facets, dimensions, interests, questions, experiences that make me ME.

This is something which is easy for some people, but for others (like me) who are very tuned in to the outside, to other (and usually very permeable with it), it can be challenging to have a strong connection to self.

Another is making it (somewhat paradoxically) less personal. Reflecting on the fact that I have a unique perspective of the world and that sharing that (whether verbally or simply by being) is a responsibility; not to get an ego kick, but to offer what I am here – and united with this ego – to offer.

Realising that we are each a one-off, crazily complex piece of Universe – and that everything in the Universe has a function.

When we don’t show up, we’re effectively suppressing the Universal impulse that brought us into being.

Is that really something you want to be doing? ;)



7 thoughts on “How much space do you inhabit?

  1. I’m having these same insights and understanding about my own life and my need to express. I haven’t shown up fully in life as I’ve also been the observer, respectful and accommodating to others. But this hasn’t really worked so something’s gotta give. ;) Self-expression is not something that’s ‘mine’ and needs to come out; it’s very much linked to other human beings. I/we need others to receive our self-expression so that, as you say, it’s reflected back to us and we are inspired to create something new. It’s all interconnected. I love every word of this post, thank you! Aleya

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I love every word in yours! Beautifully expressed!
      Somehow it’s very strengthening to know other people I think a lot of are facing the same shift, asking the same questions, leaning into inhabiting a new space..or bringing a different quality of being into the world..
      Exciting times for all of us!
      Thank you for being here <3

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Steph,

    Great post!

    You and others have a presence to share, but many, like you’ve said, observe. I’ve been in a lot of discussion and philosophy groups where patriarchy tends to dominate. I’ve been working on an idea for a non-dominating style of running a discussion group. A few of my female friends are interested.

    Have you seen any tools used in groups to get equal (or near equal) participation from “quieter types” aside from an adept facilitator?


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Really nice post! For me it’s pretty hard to take the stage and show my full potential as well. I can’t say I’m shy, but there’s something holding me back for a longer time now. I feel I’m pretty close of breaking the wall, it just takes a little bit more patience……


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