February 27, 2018

We all have the Right to Take Up Space—but We might be in the Wrong One.


At any given time, on any given day, in any given moment, you are taking up space.

Taking up, occupying, fulfilling, residing within—you are the only being within that exact space, in that exact time.

Physically, we can take up space. For me, right now, I’m taking up space on the couch in the living room with the afternoon sun streaming in the window behind my back. No one else is here. I’m occupying the space, solo.

Energetically, we can take up space. We can enter a room brimming with enthusiasm and positivity, asserting a little bit of an energetic shift when we are welcomed in.

We take up space with our bodies, space with our minds, space with our hearts…

But what if we’re taking up the wrong space? What if we’re in someone else’s spot?

This concept sort of struck me when I was asked a question that got me thinking about my past relationship—a good relationship, but one in which, in hindsight, I don’t believe was meant to be. And I think both of us, if we were truly honest with ourselves, would attest to that and would say that we knew it for a while. But despite this inner knowing, an inkling and a pull, we continued to occupy space. To fulfill the roles we thought were ours, to live in the house we thought was intended for us, to take up a particular space in place and time.

Maybe staying in a situation, whether a romantic relationship, a job, a home, a role, or a friendship, despite your better judgments—and, more powerfully and persuasively, your intuition—isn’t just doing yourself and the person/s involved a disservice. Perhaps by occupying space, or taking up a unique and irreplaceable role, you may be blocking the way for the person who was destined to fill it.

So often we look at how our choices affect us. Naturally, we are somewhat selfish or self-serving and evaluate our options and subsequent decisions based on their direct impacts, benefits, or consequences on our lives. But another helpful way of making a decision—to leave that job, to part from the relationship, to move and relocate—is to challenge yourself to see it from an entirely different perspective. Try to see it from the perspective of the person who was intended for that space, or from the perspective of others who will be impacted when you move into the space that is truly intended for you.

Here’s another personal example, this time from the professional realm. The nature of my job means that I work closely with clients and families to support their goals and learning. I get pretty bloody close with them all, and so deeply invested in their journey and their gains. This is both the biggest blessing and biggest challenge of the job. It’s challenging because if I even entertain the thought of pursuing a career change, or a big move, or a bit of a shake-up in any way that changes the way I work with these clients, I soon become wracked with guilt and anxiety.

But eventually, I challenged myself to flip this and see it from another perspective. Let’s imagine that I was offered an incredible job opportunity in another state or overseas (because I’m fabulous, obvs) but am freakin’ out about the whole vacating my current role deal. What if I shifted focus to the clients that would be waiting for me at the hospital in Melbourne, or the students that I could teach at university in Barcelona, or the photographer I could collaborate with and launch an insanely successful social justice campaign if I chased a role in writing and storytelling…

Whatever it is that we are pursuing, we can flip our perspective to instead entertain the idea that our inaction or indecisiveness is a decision in itself.

It’s a decision to occupy space that may be intended for someone else, and potentially a decision to leave vacant a space that only you can fill. It could be the job you were meant to do, the soulmate you were destined to meet, the children you were divinely curated to bear, the place you were meant to be…

Your ignoring of the pull of your heart could be allowing a unique you-shaped space to stay wide-open and waiting, albeit patiently, for you to step up and step in.

When considering whether we should change (or not change) our current circumstances, we can look beyond just how they would influence us in our own lives, and instead begin to consider that our choices have a ripple effect that extend far beyond ourselves.

So wherever you are—in space and time, metaphorically or literally, physically or energetically—simply be there. Own that space. Fill every nook and cranny with all o’ you in the way that only you can. But at the same time, be deeply honest and in tune with yourself—and be willing to love yourself enough to step away from that well-worn space (like the imprinted corner cushion on your favourite sun bed) and back the f*ck away if need be. Allow yourself to step away from what doesn’t serve you, and trust that the person who is destined to fill that space will follow their own internal compass to find it and set up residence—and that you too will find your way to your own little haven.



Author: Emily Meagher
Image: João Silas/Unsplash
Editor: Callie Rushton
Copy Editor: Travis May

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Emily Meagher