Take Up More Space — for your daughter’s sake

Why are some people afraid to take up space?

From my observation, it is a female thing. This need to make oneself smaller seems to be more of a problem for girls and women. My mother slouched. My father was always coming up behind her and pulling her shoulders back. I slouch. I have to consciously try to stand up straight, and I often forget. My daughter slouches. She is going to a physical therapist who says her biggest problem is her posture. I don’t believe her sagging shoulders come from attitude, laziness or lack of strength. She is a strong, positive, active girl. I think her carriage comes from the fear of being seen, or at least, the fear of seeming like you want to be seen. Our physical stance reflects how we feel about ourselves, and insecurity often results in a Hunchback of Notre Dame impression.

Our vagina does not make us less worthy of occupying space in this world. It is our birthright to fill the world with our presence. How do we make our daughters believe this? How do we ensure they know they are worthy of love and belonging, that their voices should be heard and their beings seen? We can tell them until we are blue in the face, but leading by example is the best way to ensure our girls are confident. So moms, throw your shoulders back, raise your hand, tell the joke, argue for what is right, stand out in a crowd and own your place in space. Even if it doesn’t feel quite right, fake it until you make it.

This post was in part inspired by Anne Hathaway revealing her own struggles with insecurity and feelings of inadequacy. She recognized this problem and has been working on it, “I just figured out how to say thank you to life by taking care of myself. By not apologizing for taking up space which is not something I knew how to do 10 years ago.” If it’s good enough for Anne …

AND, as an added benefit, standing up straight will:

— improve your mood
— burn more calories
— give you more energy
— lessen back pain
— relieve stress

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Author: Karen Latimer

Dr. Latimer is a Family Physician and Wellness & Parenting Coach. She works with parents who want to feel more confident when helping their children and coaches young adults to help them better navigate college life and transitions. Contact her at drkarenlatimer@gmail.com to learn more. She is the author of two Audible Originals, Take Back the House -- Raising Happy Parents and Worry Less, Parent Better. She is also the co-founder of the app that makes your life easier and puts social in a healthier place -- List'm.


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