Pause right now and check in with your body language. Is anything hunched, clenched, squeezed, constricted, furrowed? If so, can you take a breath into it and let it go for a moment?

It’s curious to wonder why so often we can tune in and find our shoulders squeezed in, our teeth clenched together or brow furrowed. I think of it as a way for us, as women, to take up less space in the world. To keep ourselves small so we fit in to the boxes that we have created for ourselves of what we think we “should” be.

Do you allow yourself to take up as much space as you are really allotted in life? Are your needs and values and ideas just as worthy as the other people in your life? Do you let your body be as it wants to be and not try to alter it to fit in and be small and scrunched and little and perfect? Can you dance and play and live largely and freely and make all the shapes your being wants to make without worrying about how you will be judged?

I know personally, I can let the box of my “should’s” and my guilt and my wanting to please everyone else close really tightly in around me so I end up feeling so small and so constricted. Letting my needs be just as important as anyone else’s opens the box and sets me free and yet still at times I hang out in that tiny box of my life, small and uptight because of it.

We constrict and play small because of so many reasons.

Do any of these resonate with you? 

-You want everyone else around you to be happy and “good” and so you believe in order to do that you have to tuck in and let your needs go for the benefit of their needs. 

-You’re worried about what’s going to happen later and what you said and what you did and what you’re going to say and what you’re going to do. 

-You don’t have the support system you so desperately need and you’re running on empty because of it. 

-You wonder if you’re doing the right thing, being the right way, doing enough for your family, for the world, for your bank account, for your long lost ancestors, your sister’s kids fundraiser, the planet.

If you said yes to any of the above, here are some ideas for you to unclench your jaw, break down the box, play big, live large.

1. The next time you notice that you have a need of your very own, something like not looking at Facebook past 9pm or choosing the dinner you’re going to have based on what you like, try actually listening to that need and that desire of yours. Every time we actually listen to ourselves, it lets us expand a bit more into ourselves.

2. Each morning before you get out of bed, imagine a big, soft, cushy cloud around your entire being. Imagine this cloud to be the space of your energy body. Feel how wide and vast it is. How much space it comfortably takes up. Feel into the expansiveness of your energy field around you and feel everything in your physical body take a deep breath in the spaciousness.

This expanded state is healing.

3. Have a conversation with yourself on paper. Start with a question to yourself. Something like, "Why am I clenching my teeth so much lately?" Whatever answer arises within you, allow that to be the answer. Work on not trying to change it, get away from it or want it to be different. Write down the answer that you got and then ask another clarifying question to help you get more and more and more information about your answer. Keep working on this like it’s an unfolding accordion of information within your soul. THEN, take one of the answers that really resonated with you and follow up on it. It might be that as you asked questions about your clenching, you got a feeling that you need to speak with your dad. Go ahead and call your dad.

Listening to the voice within helps us play bigger and take up more space every. single. time. Literally, every single time.

Try it out for yourself. When we start expanding, we unclench, we stand up straighter, we step into confidence. It’s a journey you can walk with yourself and you can start today.