Doing Life with Heike: Taking up space

by | Conscious Living, Print Articles, Thought Leaders, Winter 2024

We’ve all seen the motivational posters: “Be the change you wish to see in the world!” “Take up space!” “Roar like a lion!” But let’s be honest, sometimes those messages feel about as helpful as a participation trophy. We get all fired up, ready to conquer the universe with our dazzling personalities and launching ourselves into the spotlight with loud speakers in hand… and then… crickets. Maybe tomorrow – and there are dishes to be done.  Where did the courage go? 

Taking up space isn’t about being noisy, selfish, overbearing, attention seeking… it’s simply about allowing yourself to be YOU – fully.  Radiating your vibrant light, owning your unique quirks and sharing your voice with the world. And why? Because that is simply your birthright and your mission on earth – to take up the space and shine your light with ALL you are. But why is it so darn difficult to take up space and shine our light?

The speed bumps

Where am I?

We are hardly ever in the here and now

We are constantly chasing the next to-do list item, lost in the future or past. We forget to be present, to truly connect with ourselves and the world around us. Our head/thoughts are always ahead with the next thing to do, plan, organise, reach, avoid, predict or assume. 

And should we not be ahead, we are simply not present: We binge-watch series, scroll on our phones, overindulge in all kind of things but are not connected with ourselves. The here and now is the only space in which we can feel and connect – how are we going to shine and take up space when we are not here?

Who am I actually putting in this ‘space’?

Taking up space means revealing our authentic selves. But who are we beneath the layers of ‘shoulds’ and responsibilities? Are we comfortable with the person staring back?  Do I even know, approve and like these layers of myself? Let’s face it, nobody wants to unleash themselves and come out of the ‘safety zone’ of the shadow we are moving in – and open ourselves up to the world with our most vulnerable sides – just to check the waters a bit and see what happens. 

The fear factor: Visibility + volume = vulnerability

Stepping into a space is one thing but adding audio by using my voice on top of it all – that strips me of every possibility of hiding myself from others or even myself.  PANIC (where are those dishes? Anyone needs their car washed?)

Sweaty palms, racing heart – it’s terrifying! But guess what? The more you practise, the less overwhelming and the more empowering it feels to reconnect with your authentic self. It might start with a whisper, then a few words, your knees will shake… it doesn’t matter… just keep going until standing in your power is the only way to exist.

But why do we find dimming our light safer?

We’ve been conditioned to believe that shrinking is the path to acceptance, inclusion, safety, praise, opportunities… Shrinking gets rewarded – Taking up space gets punished!

The ‘nice girl/guy’ programming

We blend in, apologise excessively and prioritise the needs, wants and happiness of others over our own – always. We abandon ourselves to avoid conflict or judgment, essentially tucking our light away and moving into the background. We trade our authentic self for outer approval and avoidance of repercussions. Our worthiness gets interpreted by how useful we are to others, we are the service providers – they are the receivers. And we do want the five-star reviews!

Avoiding ‘punishment’

Since shrinking and denying our authentic self gets ‘rewarded’, we surely also learned that doing the opposite and embracing our authenticity gets ‘punished’.

Speaking up, having your own opinions, going against the crowd, standing your ground, daring to disagree with the masses, dressing differently, loving differently… and taking up space feels initially like an invitation to be ridiculed, judged, excluded, labelled, shamed,  ganged up upon, ostracised… So we often stay silent, keeping the peace. (Let me not get started on that one – if anything requires you to abandon yourself – it ain’t peace and it sure doesn’t come from love.)

But let’s be real, no ‘punishment’ out there can be as hurtful and damaging as our volunteering to deprive ourselves (and the world) of our true selves. Not shreds, not dimmed down… full on ALL of us.

The price of staying dim

Shrinking might feel safe, but it comes with a hefty price tag in all areas.

Owing to the outside being the determining factor on how we feel or experience life – it is a race we can NEVER win.

  • Stress, anxiety and a whole host of physical ailments – who knew dimming your light could mess with your health? Well, sleeping issues, digestive issues, chest/lung issues, neck/shoulder, sinus, migraines, weaker immune system…
  • Low confidence and self-esteem – it’s hard to feel fabulous when you’re hiding in the shadows. And with that comes the tendency to undersell yourself in every area of your life.
  • Difficulty setting boundaries and saying no – constantly saying yes to everyone else leaves no room for your own jive. Boundaries are your ride and die buddies, awesome bunch!
  • Constant guilt and shame, constantly apologising or over-explaining.
  • Difficulties with self-regulation – ugh – and, with that, the constant inner chatter of ‘not good enough, not worthy enough’… negative body image, difficulties with boundaries.
  • Difficult/challenging relationships with repeated patterns due to insecure attachment styles that come with suppressing who we are.
  • Denying our authentic self is a sure fire way to RESENTMENT – that’s a guaranteed.

The price of taking up space

Due to YOU owning your power, embracing yourself and being your own regulator (vs the outside world), it is a whole different ball game (once you are over the initial fear factor stage). Owning your space is about claiming your birthright – the power of your voice and your unique shine.   And it shows in many ways:

  • A generally more balanced and resilient physical system;
  • Increased confidence and self-worth – you’re a strutting your stuff;
  • Stronger boundaries and assertiveness – NO is not that scary any more, neither is a YES to yourself;
  • Greater emotional regulation and resilience – outside world doesn’t affect you as much, for it doesn’t define you anymore;
  • Guilt and shame will still come up along the way – but it won’t stop you in your tracks – you now want to explore it;
  • Attracting healthier relationships – or actively working on shifting existing relationships into healthier places.

Tools for the journey: 

Reconnect with yourself

Before you start dazzling the world, reconnect with yourself. Journal, meditate, or spend time in nature – find what helps you rediscover your passions and values. What brings you joy? What makes you smile?

Baby steps

Don’t go full throttle on day one with running out of the front door to quit your job and tell all your family members off. Begin by sharing your thoughts with a trusted friend, a coach…

Embrace the sparkle

We all have our quirks! Celebrate your weirdness. There is only one you – love the heck out of this perfectly imperfect and amazing masterpiece you are.

Reframe the fear

Feeling scared? Fabulous – you’re on the right track and stepping outside your comfort zone, which is the whole idea of it. Fear is a liar anyway and just doesn’t like change. Nothing new happens in old comfort zones and your brain throwing you all these wild emotions and acting like a squirrel in traffic – way to go! Just keep going – the brain will adjust along the way.


We do not need to ask for validity outside of ourselves, irrespective of how the world has twisted this perception. Bring it back home. Step into it, reconnect, embrace what has always been there. You do not need to be perfect or fit into any mould – you are worthy ANYWAY – take up space, make a noise and shine your weird, wonderful and authentic light, so that all the others who are still full of fear can see you and get inspired to do the same.


Don’t miss Heike at the KwazuluSpirit Festival, talking about boundaries 9 August 11:30

Heike Sym

Heike Sym

Psychic Medium, Numerologist & Metaphysical Profiler

Psychic Medium, Tarot Reader, Healer, Numerologist, and Radio Relationship Expert & Psychic Life guide and telepathic mental medium, Heike’s calling lies in working with souls who have crossed over to the other side and, for the most part, are at peace. If you have questions about a relationship, a loved one who has crossed over or simply questions about navigating this journey of life.

Email: [email protected]

For private sessions please email Heike directly: mailto:[email protected]

Heike Sym

Psychic Medium, Tarot Reader, Healer, Numerologist, and Radio Relationship Expert & Psychic Life guide and telepathic mental medium, Heike’s calling lies in working with souls who have crossed over to the other side and, for the most part, are at peace. If you have questions about a relationship, a loved one who has crossed over or simply questions about navigating this journey of life.

For private sessions please email Heike directly: [email protected]