Tuesday, December 22, 2015


We have been convinced that spaciousness is supreme. We dream of owning a huge house with as many bathrooms as bedrooms, a three-car garage, on land large enough to house a compound. In addition to our mega complex for more spacious things, personal space is also valued at such a premium that airlines and rail lines charge more money for it. Space is a hot commodity that has changed what we want and the way we live, travel, and interact with one another.

When I moved to Michigan in 2012, I moved into a large apartment, by myself. While it was often convenient and comfortable, I didn't need all of that space and having it did not always serve me well. It was great when I had overnight guests. It was not great when I felt alone. It seemed to amplify the loneliness and bounce it off of every wall for me to hear over and over again. That space also enabled me to keep things I should have released, purchase things I didn't need, and shut the door on all of those things so I didn't have to look at them or deal with them.

In addition to the drawbacks associated with physical space, there's another element of space that I subscribed to that was more detrimental—emotional space. Keeping emotional space, distance, did not always serve me well either. I developed emotional distance for the same reason that most do—because the actions of a few destroyed my ability to trust. When I did discover my support system, which was solid, genuine, and fully committed to my well-being, I was too embarrassed, ashamed, and flat out terrified to truly let people in to what I deemed my overwhelming, complicated emotional vault.

Being distant from others produced outcomes that contradicted what I wanted. Space gave my mind room to wander to horrible places, replaying scenes of my history of trauma. Space allowed me to get lost in the negative messages I repeated to myself. Space made me feel alone and undeserving of the support, acceptance, and love I needed. All of the emotional work I'd done to create a sense of safety and peace was evaporating in that space. Space was not what I needed. I needed connection. I needed people right there, up close and personal, not just telling me I had their support, but demonstrating it, repeatedly. I didn't need more space, I needed less. Much less.

When we have space, we have extra room for miscellaneous things—all the stuff that has no specific place and at times, no value. We put it in a spare room and shut the door so that we can maintain attachments that need to be severed without having to see the impact of those unhealthy attachments. We give ourselves so much space that it prevents others from getting close enough to witness our emotional clutter, making it impossible for them to help us clear it out.

Does space provide you with convenience and comfort or has it become an enabler? Have you given those you trust, those who have proven their commitment to your well-being, access to fully support you? Are you being honest with them? Are you being honest with yourself?

Assess the space in your life. Make necessary adjustments. All of the support you need will be there. Don't be afraid to let people in. Don't be afraid to get close. We were designed to be connected and have relationships. It is when those connections and bonds are broken that we feel disrupted, abandoned, and unloved. Space is not always the answer. At times, space is the problem.

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