In part two of the Claim Your Space Series, and the show’s eleventh episode, Sofie explains how to protect one’s space by recognizing the negative messages women have taken on. She emphasizes the importance of speaking up, discarding the “nice” label, establishing emotional boundaries, and why you should stop apologizing. Sofie provides practical strategies for creating a sense of confidence and power so that you can protect your space in the world.
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Hello everyone and welcome back to Claim Your Potential, the empowerment podcast. I’m your host Sofie and this is part two of the Claim Your Space Series. In this episode, I’m diving into how to protect your space.
As I was planning out this episode I was struggling. Struggling I tell you. To figure out the best way to approach this because there are so many different things that we can do to protect our space. Then I was thinking about why I wanted to do this series. I was thinking about how I feel about myself in society. How I feel about myself as a woman in society. I started to think about some of the societal norms that I was conditioned to believe and that women around me are conditioned to believe. After thinking about these I came up with about five of them that just really stuck out to me. I’ve noticed that we use these conditions that we’re taught, we use these lessons that we have unknowingly absorbed, and we use them to negate our space, to not want to protect our space, to give up our space. And I want to start off this episode by saying that it’s okay if you have given up your space before. Forgive yourself for when you lost your power. It happens to the best of us. But just know that you have the strength to take it back. With every single day that you get up in the morning, you have the option that day to claim your space, to claim the life that you want to live, to surround yourself with people that respect your space, and to make a name for yourself, to create a legacy, to make sure that you feel worthy of yourself, that you feel worthy of the life that you’re living, that you feel worthy of the space that you take up. As you listen to this episode keep that in the back of your mind. If you’ve noticed yourself doing some of the things that I’m about to talk about, it’s okay I do them too. Most women do them. And it’s not until someone calls it out that you realize a change needs to happen.
Speak your mind
The first lesson that society teaches women is not to ruffle feathers. We’re not supposed to speak up. We’re not supposed to say what we mean. We’re not supposed to call out when something’s wrong. We’re not supposed to hold people accountable because it’s considered unpleasant. It’s considered to go against the status quo. It’s considered out of the norm. It’s considered too aggressive.
When you’re going about your day-to-day life. Even if it’s something as simple as someone overcharging you for your coffee, rather than stopping yourself from saying something, say something. Stick up for yourself. You’re protecting your space. You’re protecting your boundaries. You can start this in everyday life day to day life by standing up when something disrespects you. Even if it’s something as simple as being overcharged for coffee. Rather than walking out the door, and trust me I do this too, I walk out the door and then I go oh gosh why didn’t I say something, that was so silly, they overcharged me now I’m annoyed, now my day is gonna be awful because I’m going to think about the fact that they overcharged me for my coffee. Oh my gosh. This is just so annoying. Rather than going through that whole spiral of why didn’t I say something? Oh my gosh, this is so annoying, I should have said something. Say something. Use the opportunity to ruffle people’s feathers because I can guarantee you, you are going to feel a thousand percent more satisfied with yourself if you say something. Versus if you had kept quiet.
Set emotional boundaries
The second lesson that women are taught is it’s supposedly our role to be caretakers. I’m talking about emotional caretakers. Women are almost always the shoulder that people cry on. We’re always the person that someone goes to talk about how bad their day was, to talk about their breakups, to talk about their past trauma, to emotionally unload. Yes, it’s good to be a great friend. It’s good to lend an ear when people need it, but start recognizing when that’s all you’re doing. If you are giving a hundred percent of yourself to other people that leaves zero percent for you. Zero percent for you to unpack how you’re feeling, for you to talk out your own emotions. Even if it’s not with a friend but with yourself.
If you’re giving all of your emotional energy to protecting the emotions of others. How can you protect your own emotions? How can you put your own emotional well-being first? I know it’s the most common analogy ever. But. You have to put your own oxygen mask on first before you can help others. If you’re not having that self-care time. If you are always putting in extra hours at work. If you are always around with friends asking them how they’re doing and lending an ear. If you are always the one that listens to your partner and how their day went, and they never really ask you, or you don’t communicate how you’re actually feeling with them. If you are doing this a hundred percent of the time you’re not protecting your space because a big part of protecting your space is respecting yourself. Respecting your boundaries. Respecting where you are in your life, where you are emotionally. Respecting the fact that you need time to yourself, everyone does. Even if you are a big extrovert, you still need time to yourself. So when you’re taking care of others, remember that you are someone too, that you have to take care of yourself.
Stop defending others’ bad behavior
The next one definitely hits home for me because I was in a podcast recording session with a fellow podcaster, we were recording for her show and we were talking about relationships. We were talking about those toxic relationships where we catch ourselves making excuses for the other person. I’ve noticed that a lot of women make excuses for their partner’s bad behavior. I’ve also noticed people make excuses for their friends’ bad behavior. The main theme being that so many women make excuses for the bad behavior of others. And to sum it up. Stop. Just stop. It is not your job to make excuses for others. It is not your role. It is not your place. It is not what you should be doing, if anything you should be calling people out for bad behavior. You should be having that private conversation or that public conversation if it’s warranted. But having that conversation period on, “hey what you said today really made my friends uncomfortable, can we please talk about this?”. Or “hey I don’t like that you asked me to do this the other day I feel like it really disrespected my boundaries”. Or “hey I know that there’s a lot going on in life right now. But that’s not an excuse for you to be rude”.
I caught myself doing that all the time, I was making excuses, and I was saying something like, “oh you know it’s ok. He just has a lot going on. That’s why he’s not being super nice”. “He just you know he’s under a lot of stress and yeah, it’ll pass eventually”. “It’s okay, you know, I know he didn’t really mean to yell at me”.
No. I’m going to stop you right there if you’re also going through that as well. There is no excuse for someone to ever be rude, disrespectful, or cross your boundaries. There is never an excuse. I don’t care what has happened in their life. There is never an excuse to treat someone poorly. Especially if they’re your partner, or if they’re your best friend, or if they’re your co-worker. There is never an excuse to do that to another person, and if you find yourself doing it, stop yourself and change the narrative.
Ditch the “nice” label
This next lesson kind of made me laugh when I said it out loud. I was looking at dictionary definitions of “nice” versus “kind”. So often women are called “nice”, or women are told to be “nice”. I want to stress that “nice” is the furthest thing from a compliment. Being “nice” is often used in the context of a woman being agreeable, of a woman not standing up for herself, for going with the status quo, for doing what everyone else wants her to do. Being “nice”, the definition is being pleasant and agreeable. Being kind on the other hand is about being warmhearted. It’s about showing compassion and empathy, and it’s about understanding. Not people pleasing. There is a big difference between being kind and being nice. Being nice is people-pleasing. Being kind is being a good person. But also it means standing up for what you believe in. Voicing your opinions but respecting the opinions of others. Being kind does not mean you don’t say anything, it does not mean you don’t ruffle feathers. So be kind, not nice.
Speaking of being nice, the last one that I really want to talk about is apologizing. I catch myself doing this all of the time specifically saying “no” with an apology.
Someone asks me out for dinner and let’s say I’m feeling really stressed or I’m just emotionally exhausted I will say “sorry, but no I can’t go out with you because I’m feeling really drained”. I still to this day catch myself doing it sometimes and I have to look back, do a rewind, and go wait. Why did I just apologize? Did I say something that hurt the other person? Did I say something that was morally or ethically wrong? No. So then why am I apologizing? What do I have to be sorry for? For voicing my boundaries? For simply saying no to something? I don’t know if this stems from guilt. If this stems from the belief that we always have to do everything and that we’re going to be looked down on or people aren’t going to want to hang out with us if we say no. But the truth is, say no, and do it without apology. Stop saying sorry. Please stop saying sorry. I say it too. And if you catch yourself saying it, I find that this practice actually really helps. Say your sentence again without the “I’m sorry” part.
Going back to the example. If I had said, “I’m sorry no I can’t hang out with you. I’m feeling really emotionally drained”. Instead, if I catch myself doing it I will go wait a second, rewind, and then I will reiterate my point with, “no I can’t hang out with you. I’m feeling emotionally drained maybe next time”. And it’s okay to rewind your thoughts because it’s reiterating your point. It’s like any habit. If you take back what you’re saying and if you start doing that, I can promise you right now that it’s going to get better. I’ve noticed that it’s definitely getting better because I’m a lot more cognizant of it now.
Women. We often say sorry for other people doing things wrong. For things that aren’t even in our control. A great example is when someone bumps into you. How many women say I’m sorry? I’m raising my hand on the other side of this microphone right now. I always do that. Someone bumps into me and I say, “I’m sorry”. Why am I sorry that someone else went into my personal space and bumped into me? Shouldn’t they be the one that’s apologizing? And I found this so fascinating because I do it. My Best friend does it. I’ve even seen my mother do it sometimes. So many women around me do it.
On that note, I want to leave you all with this quote and it’s, you teach people how to treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.
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