by Gabriele Conrad, Goonellabah, Australia
This morning I looked around in my bedroom, felt how simple and supportive it was, and was reminded of all those years when I so yearned for a space where I could be with myself, take care of myself and look after myself.
In the past, I had always been keenly aware of how much I missed not doing things for myself; such as having a bath just for me, and not because I was chilled to the bone and a bath was the only way to warm up; such as having somewhere where I actually wanted to linger and where I could apply body lotion or cream; such as a space where I could take care of my hair rather than wear it so short that I never had to use a comb and never had to look at myself in the mirror.
You see, many years ago I had convinced myself that I was the ugliest person in the world. As a teenager, I used to cross the street when I saw somebody come towards me who I thought might be taken aback by my imagined abominable ugliness. How I had come to that conclusion… I do not know. How I made the choice as to whom to cross the street for and thus save them the shock of laying eyes on me… I do not know. Whenever I looked at old pictures of mine, all I saw, and all I could ever see, was that I looked normal, and more often than not downright pretty. I was always surprised about this but somehow always managed to convince myself that I was ugly now, whenever that now was, and that the images in the photo album did not count.
Later in life, the other thing I had convinced myself of was that I needed a really, really special space, a super-duper bathroom with all mod cons imaginable; then, and only then, would I be able to feel that I might like to linger and care for myself, and how I looked. I actually never managed to have such a bathroom, and I don’t have one of those now. But I do linger and I do look after me, care for my skin and my hair, and I have even started to wear a little bit of make-up now and then. (Isn’t it strange that we might do those things when we are looking for a partner and when we are first with a partner, but that we never do them for ourselves?).
So what has changed? I claimed my space in me; a space for self-care and self-nurturing that has nothing to do with what kind of bathroom I have, and whether I am in or want a relationship, or not – a space just for me. And because I take me with me wherever I go, I now have a space just for me wherever I go – and no more excuses, and that feels great!
216 thoughts on “A Space Just For Me”
“then, and only then,” restricting ourselves by time and expectations prevents us from feeling the beauty of the presence.
When we claim the space within the outer stuff just falls away.
Love your spunky blog, Gabriele. It’s such an amazing experience when we come to realise that ‘..I claimed my space in me…’ I have done the same and your blog has helped me reflect on this and why and how I am able to hold my space as I redo my bedroom and paint almost everything in it including the walls and wardrobe. My clothes are in neat piles in the lounge as are my shoes and bags temporarily stored there which make the lounge pretty unusable but somehow I remain unaffected by all the disruption. Being able to hold my space throughout has been a real testament to how solid this holding is in me.
What an awesome reflection not just for you but everyone you come into contact with – moving through life without being affected by outside stuff when we have our inner space to support us.
I really understand the feeling of looking back on photos and thinking wow I really was not as bad as I thought, really sad and crazy how we do that. We actually distort what we see through self judgement and criticism.
We live a distorted and contracted version of ourselves until such time that we somehow and in hindsight decree it was otherwise while continuing to raise the bar and living an updated distorted version of ourselves. Sheer madness, is it not?
It’s so lovely to build that relationship with ourselves and enjoy honouring and nurturing ourselves, not because we have to or because of someone else, but simply to enjoy the loveliness we are.
I agree – especially when rediscovering the warmth of that loveliness which is, after all, always there, waiting to be connected to
Such an honouring reminder Gabriele that the sacred space of love within us is ever-present and ever-deepening, as such in our connecting to this quality we never are in any need to go any place to take space, as we are already it.
We cannot make our self-care and nurturing dependent on outer circumstances; if we do, we wait forever and use this lack as an excuse for procrastinating.
We are just as beautiful as we feel we are, as is not our shape or look what makes us pretty, but our inner beauty glowing in the love we have for ourselves.
There is indeed a glow when we are fired up by our self-love and this beauty does not compare, withhold, measure or calibrate one iota.
When I do this or that, then I will have time or space for myself, this was a self defeating thought through most of my life, for when I did get some space to be with me it quickly became filled with more doing thereby avoiding the responsibility in the way I was living. there was a time when the continual doing dropped off but I was then filled with tension and anxiety for I had not learn yet to connect to the space within and just be.
It’s not about the outer things, yes they can support, but ultimately it’s the quality of how we are with us; and I love how you put it Gabriele, claiming a space for yourself and I feel the joy in that as I too am learning to claim more space for me.
Thank you and thus, many years later, I do find myself in a position where I am attending to the outer by planning an extension to my bedroom and a new bathroom; this time not from a need to get what I don’t have but as a confirmation of the space and riches within.
Gabriele, this is such a different way to approach a renovation, “this time not from a need to get what I don’t have but as a confirmation of the space and riches within.”, as it confirms who we are, rather than seeking to fill an emptiness with outer experiences because of the loss felt from not being connected to the love within.
Life works best from the inside out rather than living and doing things in reaction to what happens around us or we are faced with.
It is crazy how we make up stories about ourselves, imagine ourselves to be a certain way, think we need a special space before we can care for ourselves, yet as soon as we go within instead looking outwardly, everything is there waiting for us, our inner beauty and inner space.
It’s interesting and also concerning how many of us put off caring for ourselves until some imagined circumstance presents itself. It might be that we’re waiting until we lose weight before we buy new clothes or that we’re waiting for a ‘special occasion’ before we wear the dress that we feel fabulous in. What we’re actually doing is putting ourselves on hold. Pretty crazy when you think about it.
Ah yes, putting ourselves on hold – what an old record that is. One day, when I’m slim, trim and beautiful, I will …
The pigs are flying low, it seems.
When we put ourselves on hold, we miss living all of who we truly are: our relationships with ourselves and others suffer because we’re not bringing all of who we are into every moment. It just seems like an incredible waste of potential and opportunities for more love and more joy in our lives.
You crossed the street so no one would have to suffer your self-percieved ugliness. I find this tragic, because each one of those people actually never had the chance to bask in your total and complete beauty. Making the dominion of your grace something that was controlled, not by you, but by an outer force. It is wonderful that this has passed and you are free now to enjoy your great light and as such – so are we.
Thank you, Shami – this is deeply touching and very much appreciated; by way of confirmation and as an exquisite manner of expressing appreciation for the greater All, the All we are all a part of.
How beautiful that you now have space for yourself wherever you go, ‘ a space for self-care and self-nurturing that has nothing to do with what kind of bathroom I have, and whether I am in or want a relationship, or not – a space just for me’, gorgeous.
And that space is expanding evermore with every step and every breath, there is no end. The universe is forever expanding.
What a beautiful journey to come back to you and find your own space within , a real marker for us all to connect to ourselves and accept our own love and beauty and thus not allow all the thoughts to come in that are not who we are or from love.
The way we look at ourselves reflects the way we feel us in the inside, so beauty can’t never be a physical thing, but an ongoing experience in which we continuously create more and more space to it in our life.
It is very challenging to claim space for ourselves when we feel that we do not deserve it and feeling how difficult it is for young women growing up today with the relentless pressure of Social Media etc and the countless fake images that are projected with the insidious message of if you are not measuring up to this unattainable perfection then you have failed. We desperately need more role models like yourself showing everyone that there is another way.
It is true that there is relentless pressure to obey the command of expectations and demands and education and parenting have their roles to play in that; in its present form, all over the world, these sectors do not reflect the love and unity we are and are from and everything that undermines us stems from there.
It is crazy the conditions that we place on ourselves and only then will we finally be able to have…yet all the time we have the key to our self made prison. Very inspiring to feel how you have claimed the space within you and how this has transformed your life.
I love this blog Gabriele. I felt exactly the same about my looks. I would wear eye makeup so that I would not upset people with the sadness I saw in my eyes. I felt the eye make disguised this. When I was young I thought people were looking at me because I was a freak. I look back on photos and see a perfectly normal fresh face young woman! I say to young girls take the time and make the space to love and appreciate yourself now and then you will get to truly see how beautiful you are. I never did until much later in life, which is better than never. It was giving myself the space to love and nurture myself that allowed me to appreciate the innate beauty we all have access to that resides in each and every one waiting for us to connect to.
True, it is never too late to learn to appreciate one’s innate beauty but what a waste of time in truth. And how different life would be if young women learnt this from a young age, from girl to woman. The levels of abuse, self-abuse and abuse of others, would plummet right across all strata of our society and positively affect every man, child and woman, every industry and all manner of human endeavour.
So very true Gabriele, a lot of time is wasted by us being caught in patterns of abuse and appreciating one’s true beauty from a young age would indeed change everything, but everyone has to learn this for themselves and in our own time we will all come to it.
It is beautiful to return to this Gabriele and be reminded of the endless amount of space available for us to be ourselves in, whenever we connect to the love we are within. For in surrendering to who we are, the space we occupy and move through is filled with the love of God.
It is interesting how we can be so convinced we are ugly and not good enough even though it is absolutely not true, like with facts as the pictures in your example. It really shows that how we feel inside ourselves does paint how we see ourselves and that the only way to change how we see ourselves is change how we are with ourselves on the inside, our relationship with ourselves.
There is always a space within us to connect with that brings us a sense of clarity about and a deeper understanding about life and its real purpose. Once we connect the excuses and complications that we create no longer affect us, unless we allow it.
Putting conditions on wanting the outside to come to us and make everything picture perfect before we act is a loooonnnggg waiting game. And it’s never as satisfying or contentment bringing when compared to it coming from within ourselves first.
Putting conditions on how things are to be or else … the perfect excuse for not getting on with it, for not moving forward and remaining in the victim, in the ‘poor me’ stance.
Remaining in to the victim is a very draining choice that goes no where. Allowing ourselves to observe these patterns with no judgment is very powerful as we can come back to feel the truth from our body. The more we observe and let go the more we can create space within us which is free of forms, pictures or beliefs. It’s indeed a very freeing and empowering experience that we can live.
By claiming a space in this way we reinstate ourselves upon the throne within our hearts where true love reigns. From this Kingdom we learn to live our majesty once again so that all may see and feel the exquisiteness of this love.
Gabriele, I love the simplicity of realising that the space is within yourself and you can take this wherever you are. Very gorgeous to feel and it brings me to a deeper sense that if we choose to connect with this space within ourselves, we are no longer at the whim of what happens outside of us in our day that may be beyond our control, for the spaciousness within ourselves is so yummy and delicious and can never be taken away.
I also enjoyed reading your comment about hair, and having hair styled for convenience so that it does not even need combing. I have struggled with choosing hair cut styles, and have recently begun to err on getting a cut for what will be most convenient / fit the picture yet have been avoiding what it is I truly feel and wish to choose for myself. In this it is not even whether the hair cut is short or long, but the intention for my choice and allowing myself to enjoy what I choose and how my hair is without any judgement of it being lacking, too fine and fuzzy etc.
Convenience and shortcuts don’t honour who we truly are and leave us feeling drained and joyless; would that be right?
It is truly beautiful to come to a place in life where you are inspired to look after and appreciate you… and through that grow to know and claim who you are as a woman and treat yourself accordingly so that you can then take that quality with you wherever you go… reflecting the beauty and power of that to the world.
With a deep appreciation of who we are and what we bring, we become so much less reliant on the outside for that – so that how we dress, get ready, with hair, clothes, make up for example, becomes much less about covering anything up and more about enhancing what is already there and allowing it to shine. Giving ourselves full permission to express who we are in full becomes more and more of a normal feeling and inspires others to do the same.
We don’t cover up but confirm our quality by what we wear, put on and adorn ourselves with. I wonder how many things are bought and donned to make up for a perceived lack? Just about everything?
Of course, we take ourselves everywhere so when we have a space for us and take it in us, then we find space in the world, it’s really simple, it starts within.
And then, from within first, the outer can begin to reflect the richness and beauty of the innermost space.
‘Once this happens I’ll take more care of myself’ Oh how I know that one! Lately that mentally has been very much so in my face ‘Once work develops a routine then I’ll have time for everything else’ by living in this belief and waiting for that day to arrive I find myself getting drained. Whereas when I work at being with myself whatever the moment I have the energy to not only get what was in the moment complete but space opens up for the other things in life.
Yes, forever procrastinating until the right time comes! It doesn’t work and as you have also found, it is about taking the necessary steps from one moment to the next moment in every moment (eventually!) in order to change that momentum.
The space between our face and the reflection back from the mirror is filled with energy so the energy we choose to live with is what is reflected back to us.
That makes perfect sense and explains why the reflection can change from one instance to the next,
Gabriele, you’ve exposed the games we can play in needing that space outside so we can take care, but when as you put it ‘I claimed my space in me’ then of course the ways are there; the truth is the space is in us first ready and waiting and when we live and honour that, all the self care and nurture comes naturally.
More than that – we often hold the world to ransom with our expectations and demands and it is mainly those ‘nearest and dearest’ who cop it relentlessly.
Well written – very cute Gabriele. You deserve that space not only in you, but that exquisite area for you to deeply cherish your sacredness as a woman! I have experienced the same and this has a lot to do with holding back your feelings. It’s interesting we are mostly made up of feelings and most of my life I have been in reaction to them and focusing on that. I have me, you can never escape that. We also have that lesser being that I was not aware of dragging me down constantly as Gabriele has exposed. Through my commitment and dedication it has been a well-deserved change to honour what I truly feel and claim back the sensitive man I am. I have a whole lot of love that has been held back for years. So, instead of the not loving thoughts given to me that I did not ask for, I deserve to shower myself and focus on my feelings and confirm that inner-knowing ie fill that space in me and around me with love as Gabriele as exclaimed!
You are alluding to the fact that we are not the source of intelligence but a conduit and yes, these thoughts are given to us. And even though it feels true to say that we didn’t ask for them – who in their right mind would? – we leave ourselves wide open for anything and everything when we don’t know this and live in a way that confirms disconnection from the body and negates the fact that we feel everything. Would you agree?
I definitely agree.
I love it Gabriele . . . I love your twist on space . . . it makes perfect sense that no amount of space outside of ourselves is going to make up for the space that we can make within as the space is love and the love is within.
I love it too – and it is just as true now as it was then: the incessant (if we let it) search on the outer for what we miss so much and yet, is always there.
“I claimed my space in me; a space for self-care and self-nurturing that has nothing to do with what kind of bathroom I have” I love that Gebriele. Once the commitment, rhythm and routine are there and we feel the support of these self-loving and nurturing rituals we will do them where ever we are and whomever we are with.
I love the expansiveness and spaciousness of claiming a space just for me. No outside accoutrements needed just the willingness to claim it wherever I am because I am worth it.
I love that you, ‘claimed my space in me; a space for self-care and self-nurturing’, and that as you take you with yourself wherever you go you have a space for you everywhere, how awesome.