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The Dangers of Being Small

I don’t have to tell you that we live in a society where “diet culture” is the norm. We are taught to count calories, not eat more than a certain amount of cookies, or strive to fit into a dress that is a specific size. But, what if our goal, as women, to always be smaller is reflective of something more? And, what implications does being smaller actually have in our every day lives?

What “Being Small ” Means
To be small means to take up less space. Literally. As women, this is not something that is limited to body size. Whereas assertive men are seen as “leaders,” women with presence are “bossy.” As a child, we may have lived by the unspoken rule to be “seen and not heard.” Our opinions can often feel less respected. Women don’t enjoy the same level of representation in the workforce that men enjoy. In politics, for example, women are outnumbered 1 to 5. We quickly take on the role of “caregiver” or “hostess” for others, putting our needs aside.

My Message to You
But, my dear, let me tell you: you have a right to take up space! You SHOULD take up space! Don’t get sucked into the culture that asks you to be smaller than you really are; to lose your voice; your presence. To feel unsatisfied with your body or your being just because someone else tells you that you are not how you “should” be is compliance with the expectation to make yourself smaller.

Embrace your confidence. Be fully present in your body. Practice an act of self-love every day. Remind yourself that you have permission to be on this earth and literally take up space. If you want to wear that outfit, wear it! Recognize that the tendency for you to apologize for who you are, what body you have, or what you are offering to the world has nothing to do with you but is simply a clash with the expectation our society has for you, as a woman, to take up less space.

Radical Self-Love
You may have heard of the saying, “In a society that profits from your self doubt, liking yourself is a rebellious act.” I’m going to take it a step further: There is no greater act of rebellion than radical self-love.

It’s hard, I know. But, take one practice opportunity at a time. After all, in order for others to begin to give you permission to take up space, you have to first give yourself permission to take up space; to not be small; to exist in all your glory. Do it, sister!

Ashley Carter Youngblood owns two businesses: one as a psychotherapist and the other as a life coach for those looking for a more intimate approach to growth. Her passions are in helping support female empowerment. More info: www.kalamazoo-counseling.com and www.lotuslifestylecoaching.com.

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