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7 Mar 2017

Taking Up Space As An INFJ

Taking up space as an INFJ is completely against our natural better judgement. We're completely aware of our surroundings from how we are perceived to how we may affect those around us, whether it's positively or negatively (and desperately want everyone to be at peace). So asking us to take up more room than necessary (we'd squeeze into a small a space as possible if it meant others would be more comfortable) makes us squirm. But because we are natural born people-pleasers, we tend to get overlooked and are often trampled on. Whether a co-worker always adds more tasks to our schedule because they know we can't say no, friends often take without giving much in return - this often manifests emotionally as well as physically - or a stranger pushes your elbow off a joint arm rest. So taking up room is a stand against the constant piss that is taken from us by the people around us.

For me it started with taking up space more often. Instead of leaving a room when things got heated (the flight response is strong in me), I'd wait it out and make my presence (even if my voice failed me) strong and constant. This was actually something my therapist taught me and has proved to have incredibly positive results.

But then I began hearing - from multiple YouTube videos, articles and a feminist podcast - about taking up space in public. Manspreading (the act of a man spreading their legs unnecessarily wide in public) is a particular favourite sub-topic of mine. It's a strong statement of hierarchical importance that INFJs - and women - don't feel the need to announce in quite the same way.

But we should. 

Not for the same reasons, but as a statement of "I'm here, too, and deserve the right to the same amount of physical and emotional space and attention as everyone else". I believe it to be of utmost importance to assert every inch of your existence, particularly for INFJs who have been worn down and overlooked for far too long.

It's time for a stand.

So, what do I suggest? Nothing aggressive, nothing even we don't see around us every day. I suggest we start making our presence known in a very INFJ way... silently. Take up the space you're entitled to – STOP letting your arms be knocked off the arm rest, STOP crossing your legs to the side when someone man-spreads all over your space, STOP tucking your elbows in so the person pouring themselves into your space doesn't feel your presence, STOP moving to the side of every arrogant person who pretends you're not sharing the pavement. START using your body as you would if nobody else was there.

And by no means do I promote or condone someone taking up more space than necessary. This is NOT an act of defiance or an aggression by any means. This is merely a stand against the constant emotional berating we as INFJs, introverts, HSPs, women and empaths get given on a daily basis. It's time to stop feeling diminished and start silently (or not) standing up for ourselves and taking our fare share of space back.

Here's a fantastic podcast on taking up space as a woman (it translates to INFJs, too):
Guilty Feminist Podcast: Taking Up Space with Desiree Burch

— Coming Soon —