Healing childhood trauma and abuse takes space, there is no getting around this. Yet, it poses a very difficult task because abused children are conditioned by survival to take up as little space as possible. The less we are seen, the safer we are.
As I have talked about the need to take up space in survivor circles I find that the idea of taking up space is both foriegn and uncomfortable for most of us, and many more don’t even know where to begin or what it even means.
It is so important that we all learn to exist without apology, and to honor ourselves in the ways that we deserve.
With that in mind, here are examples of how you can take up space as you heal from your childhood.
I think I just heard a collective groan as you all read that heading. Set boundaries?!? What does that even mean? How do we do that? And what if the people we set them with refuse to respect them?
This is where you take up space.
Boundaries mean you recognize your needs, and your ability to give, then you communicate that and act accordingly. It also means that you learn to accept that some people will walk away if inconvenienced by your boundaries, and some people you will have to walk away from because they won’t respect them.
Both situations hurt, and they are uncomfortable, and often cause anxiety as you counter feelings of self-doubt.
However, once you begin to feel the benefits of being surrounded by people who recognize and respect your needs as a person and allow you the space you need – you’ll never give this space up again.
Feel Your Emotions & Communicate Them Without Shame
Part of being human is having emotions. Part of being a trauma survivors is living with an overactive limbic system and a shallow understanding of how to feel, process, and cope with emotions.
Most of us were silenced as children and we learned quickly that how we feel is of no importance. Unsure what to do with all of the things we were feeling, we turned them off.
Now, as adults we are just beginning to learn how to identify and feel our emotions, in our actual bodies. We are just learning that we are allowed to have emotions, and how to let go of shame and embarrassment when they become overwhelming.
Take up space! Feel your emotions without judgement or shame. Your emotions are valid, you deserve all the space you need for processing.
Prioritize Self-Care Activities & Alone Time
So often we are told as survivors to love ourselves as much as we love others. Yet, we all struggle developing and maintaining proper self-care routines. Why?!
It’s because we’ve never prioritized ourselves in all of our lives. Abused children become people pleasers; the less conflict and confrontation in our lives, the safer we are. Putting ourselves first and taking time for ourselves feels selfish and unfamiliar.
Still, it is necessary for proper healing. Trauma healing takes energy, it is very difficult to do with an empty tank.
Take up space!! Put time aside for yourself each day to do something that brings you joy. Ask your partner for an hour alone and go be with yourself to reconnect. Pamper yourself, love yourself – you deserve all of it!
Ask For Help
That’s right. It’s that simple.
When you need help, no matter the form – ask for it. Ask a friend, a family member, reach out into your community for a resource, even search for an online community of peer support.
You are not a burden, you deserve to exist and everyone needs help once in awhile. Take up space! Ask for help when you need it, there are people in your life and in this world who want nothing more than to help you be the best version of yourself.
Leave Unhealthy Situations that Compromise Who You Are
So often we survivors stifle who we are and what we want – we compromise what we will tolerate in order to avoid rejection or abandonment. We allow people to trample our boundaries, take advantage of our kindness, and dismiss us when we are feeling more vulnerable.
Take up space!
Anyone who hinders your ability to shine as you are is trying to take away the space you deserve to be in.
Exist Without Apology
Whether you are loud by nature, quirky, or quiet – be you. Live your life in honor of yourself, and your passions. Explore who you are and share it with the world. Exist as you want to exist.
You are deserving of space in this world to live, to grow, and to love yourself.
Take up Space!!
I hope that you are able to find pieces of yourself in the examples that I have shared, you deserve to heal!
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