Have you considered how much space you take up?
What does taking up space mean?
There are many people, especially those who as children were not nurtured or loved as they were meant to be loved and nurtured, or who suffer from low confidence and low self-esteem, who believe they ‘have no right to take up space’ in this world. They go through life trying to be of little disturbance as possible. They never speak their minds, never do the things they really want to do, never be the people they really want to be, who they were destined to be, never really living their lives because they are too afraid of upsetting other people, or being judged for being themselves.
Many people are fearful claiming the space they rightfully deserve. They are too busy trying to stay out of the way, apologising for their very existence.
Does this sound familiar?
I used to be a person who took up very little space. I kept myself small. The truth is being small, feeling small was my default position.
But not any more.
I (and every person) have as much right to take up space as anyone else who exists in the world.
I have discovered taking up space is a balancing act as it requires testing boundaries, and becoming open to feeling vulnerable. Remember, by putting yourself ‘out there’ and expressing yourself, you will elicit feedback from others. Some people will agree with you, admire and like you, while others will disagree with you and may even consider you as an enemy or a threat. Some may ignore you.
Taking up space means you are likely to be judged.
Judging others is what we all do, we can’t help it, it’s part of being human. Monitor yourself and your responses if you question this is true. We judge, but it is what we do next that counts.
When I am judged, I welcome it as it encourages me to take up more space. I have discovered the more I speak out and the more I am judged (or challenged even), the more I grow.
Bring it on!
But if you are a person who recoils from negative feedback, don’t be discouraged from taking up space as the more you put yourself out there, the more you become desensitised to negative feedback. Which means you become more comfortable being yourself despite what others think. It is your right to be who you are and speak your mind.
I no longer hesitate or be afraid to take up more space in my life. I am proud to show the world who I am and what I believe in.
Have you thought about how much space your characters take up, particularly your protagonist, your antagonist?
The book I am reading at the moment is ‘Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine’ by Gail Honeyman and as I publish this blog I am about half way through. For me this book is about loneliness, a state often felt by people who are not taking up space in their lives. But more than this, this book celebrates a protagonist who begins to take up space – more and more space as she blossoms and grows, encouraged by the small acts of kindness she experiences from those around her.
It is a fine example of a character arc, the transformation or inner journey over the course of the novel, a person changing as they take up more space.
As you consider the character arcs of your protagonist and antagonist, as your novel / your story unfolds, think about how much space they are taking up in the world. What exciting things, what conflicts will ensue as your protagonist and antagonist take up more space?
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