The Greatest Lessons from My 20s {part 4}

This post is part of a five-week series, The Biggest Lessons from my 20s. During the five weeks leading up to my 29th birthday, I'll be discussing the greatest lessons this decade has taught me. Read the most recent post, which is To Invest in Good, Loving Relationships here.  

I recently started practicing yoga at Core Power, which opened in Atlanta this summer. Last week, we ended class with Happy Baby pose and the instructor said it's one of his favorites, because it invites us to be larger and take up more space on our mats.

I thought about that sentiment for a while. I think the idea that we should use up more space on this earth is really foreign to us - especially as women. Aside from the obvious, which is that we're constantly applauded for being thinner, firmer and tighter, there's also a sentiment, I think, that we should be smaller emotionally and mentally too. To be dainty and agreeable. To be emotionally confined and handled. To be smaller in our needs, our thoughts and our feelings is often something we're taught and encouraged to be.

Throughout my 20s, I've begun to understand, that we aren't meant to be smaller. We are meant to be the fullest, most lively versions of ourselves. For some of us, that means we are quiet; but it's not a trying-to-contain-myself quiet. It's that we are naturally inclined to be that way. For others of us, we are more talkative or, heck, our voices just carry more. And that's OK, too.

I think it's important that we, as women, stop apologizing for being ourselves and for taking up space on this earth. We are meant to be here right now and to make the most of this time. Having bold opinions, emotional needs or strong reactions to things isn't something we should be ashamed of, but instead, something we should be proud of.

As I've gotten older, I've become more comfortable with the fact that I have needs and I've stopped trying to diminish them. I have stopped trying to pretend I'm OK when I'm not. I have stopped trying to pretend I agree with something when I don't or apologize if something frustrates me. I have begun to stand taller - confident in my 5'10 height.

I've become more sure of the fact that I am meant to be here, today, on this earth. I understand now that being less of who I am diminishes my purpose and my ability to connect with others. And there are few things greater than living out our purposes while we're here and connecting deeply with those we love.