There once was an experiment with a monkey. It proved the brain can re-organize itself. The neuroscientist, Michael Merzenich, in one variation, sewed two of the monkey’s fingers together, then imaged his brain to see what happened.
(Read the full story, and others, in this fascinating book by Norman Doidge.)
Your brain is full of maps. Maps to (hopefully) get you through grief and trauma. Maps of what to expect from a variety of people and situations. And maps for every bit of your body.
What they found when the monkey lost the ability to move one of his fingers independently from the other, is that the space in his brain that represented this finger, vanished. The map for that finger literally disappeared. The space, as it was not being used, was overtaken by the maps of the neighboring digits. That finger didn’t assert its space and it lost its representation in the monkey’s brain. That finger actually lost its sense of being in its brain’s map from not being free to move.
People are like this scientifically modified monkey. We tie bits of ourselves back, modify our dislikes so we ourselves can be liked, sew our lips closed as to not lose favor. This self-modification results in losing ourselves and eventually living as shadows of who we truly are. We try to manipulate the function and digits of who we are, but in doing so, dissolve the map. We lose entirely parts of ourselves that deserve representation. That deserve space.
But please, take up all your space. I give you permission.
You are allowed to have likes, dislikes, boundaries, passions, faults, gifts. They all make up who you are; they are intrinsically ‘you’. You do not have to hide the little pieces of you that you think people won’t accept. You don’t have to apologize for not living up to what you think their expectations are. You don’t have to strive to be accepted by others. You are enough.
You are allowed to walk into any room and belong there.
You are allowed to sit down in that space and be comfortable.
And you are allowed to stay there as long as you like.
Stop living in the marred map you’ve created for yourself. You, your whole you, deserves to be known. Every little bit. Including the ugly. Because in hiding the ugly, you are most likely hiding the beautiful.
The problem is most people err in the type and amount of space they can take up. Many undervalue themselves and try not to have preferences, often on the pretense of serving others. Many undervalue themselves and try to assert their preferences, often on the pretense of leading others.
Get quiet. Take a look inside yourself. Be still. Fight the urge to complete the tasks that come immediately to mind, or to overthink every situation that has and will happen in the surrounding half year. Be still.
What’s in your center? Do you have a solid sense of being? Are you comfortable with being quiet? Do you value what’s inside, or do you try to hide even from yourself? Where does your sense of worth come from?
Leanne Payne says that you cannot even have self-worth if you do not have a sense of being. You need to know your value before you can have an opinion about it. And to be convinced of your value, you have a solidity inside your center, a solidity that you cannot fabricate within yourself, by yourself.
Be still. You are free to be, free to move. Find your being. Find your space. Relocate your center in the One who imagined your being. Rest in your value. And take your space.
The monkey experiment didn’t end with the monkey losing function of his one finger. The map in his brain had been altered, sure, but it didn’t stay that way. Fascinatingly, when the neuroscientist would unstitch the fingers and the monkey started to use all of its fingers independently, the brain map would change again. The maps of the neighboring digits would shrink back to their previous size as the map for the one finger would enlarge to take up its rightful space. Even if the finger had been so used to being unused that the brain had essentially forgotten about it and de-mapped it, it could take its space back. It could be remembered. It could reclaim its value.
The more you are aware of your value, the more your space will grow. The more you believe in your belonging based on your core worth, the more you will know you fit in. And the more you embrace your space, knowing that you fit in, the more comfortable you will be wherever you go.
You are allowed your own unique likes and dislikes. You are allowed your own variety of faults and giftedness. You are allowed boundaries and freedoms. You are allowed to chase down your passions.
Take your space. Re-map your value. Fill it out. Be comfortable in it. And then carry it with you wherever you go. Enter every room with that space. And own it.
Own your value and the presence that your value has. Take your space. Be comfortable in it. We need your unique you. You were created good. So take your space.