One principle lesson we learn when we grow up: in order to maintain homeostasis, we must shrink. Perhaps not always, perhaps not often. Perhaps one time was all it took.
Think of all the messages one can receive over a lifetime. That children must be seen and not heard. That little girls are everything nice. That your waistline must be smaller; that your arms could be more defined; that your cheekbones should be more structured. That your orgasms should come easier. That your voice should be less abrasive. That you did not say it loudly enough. That you did not say anything in the moment. That you are bad for having said something, at all. Or, my favorite: that whatever that person did was actually something you made them do.
Cue: the eye roll heard round the world.
When you encounter rejection. When you are silenced. When you maintain peace instead of standing up for yourself.
Take a moment to acknowledge if there is someone in particular that you notice as we meditate on this. See whether you recognize if that someone’s presence is subtracting. Perhaps there are many. If this is the case, then do not rush this. Address each item individually. Take care to acknowledge each with as much compassion, objectivity, and tenderness as the item before it.
Get a pen and a piece of paper. Think of a time that you made yourself smaller in response to a person, place, object, or situation, whether by silencing yourself, adjusting your stance, or going against what you knew was right for you. Talk. Back. Where are you? Where did you hide? Own what you felt or wanted to do in that moment. Then, rise up. Be the person you needed. Describe what it looks like. Describe who you are when you take up space. State why you belong in your space. Make it known that it is yours.
(When you are ready, click here to complete the second part of this exercise.)