In an age in which everyone seems to be fighting for air space, ad space, likes, and attention, we still want what we’ve always wanted. We want to be heard, seen, and understood for who we are. We want to find our space in the universe.

Via photographs throughout history, we can observe dramatic shifts of the physical landscape of the world since industrialism. Whether observed through local histories or pictures from space, the Earth is notably more occupied by industry and developments. Once ‘natural landscapes’ are now overgrown with urban sprawl. What was once simple, is now complex. We find the open spaces filled with advertisements and office spaces. Infrastructure guides our experiences, and we must adapt to changing landscapes.

Sound bites and alerts guide us throughout our day. Everything grabs one’s attention by design. Our brains and bodies are not yet evolved to fully process the overload of information that comes with our technological advancements. Fighting over territory is nothing new, yet there are unique components for competing in the Digital Age as compared to the rest of human history. Space as observed via our physical and digital landscapes define how we see ourselves and the world around us. The way we choose to use space is powerful.

Step back, step up, and move around. Sometimes it can feel like the space of our universe is merely the size of a computer screen or a cellphone. If that’s the case, it’s vital to remind ourselves that that’s merely us limiting ourselves. It’s important to take time to step back, stretch out, and make space for ourselves. This battleground over space can be especially overwhelming for expats who may rely on the internet for work and social media in particular to stay connected with friends and family. If you work in an office, do chair exercises, take stretch breaks, and walk around to reclaim the mobility and space you deserve. Avoid leaning forward and crumpling up on yourself as this both strains your body and weakens your resolve. Sitting with your back straight, shoulders back and head up keeps your body aligned and positively impacts a healthy posture, your confidence, your openness to experiencing the world, and the way others perceive you.

Talk with, not at, not over each other. We want to connect, communicate, be heard, be seen, and feel valid in our existence. We all want to get our point across and communicate with each other. However, out of fear of not being heard, we tend to talk over each other without allowing space for what others are saying. Sometimes the opposite is true, and we timidly shy away from speaking our truth. Let’s strike a balance. Make an effort to both speak up for yourself as well as listen to hear what others are trying to show you. We are responsible for advocating for ourselves and for choosing who we engage with. Be intentional, and know your words are powerful.

Open up. Throughout the pandemic we’ve been dodging physical interactions to dodge the virus. We’ve been keeping to ourselves, minding our space, standing in more confined positions in the queue as compared to our former sweeping gestures. We need to take time to be more expressive with our bodies, dance, make theatrical gestures, talk with our hands, and move our bodies freely. We each express ourselves in different ways so it’s important to find what this looks like to you, and what makes you feel powerful and confident.

Strike a power pose. Spreading out and taking up space generates feelings of confidence. These can be power gestures to show the world you’re ready to take it on and to take in what it has to offer. Think of Superwoman or Superman. They are typically seen arms outstretched or with hands on their hips and legs at a wide stance. Spending time in these stances can be a great way to prepare for a meeting or build your confidence.

Open your body. Open your mind. Physically closing off your body mentally closes you off from experiencing the world and taking in new ideas. A classic example of body language is that crossing your arms may indicate disinterest in what the other person is saying.

Own your power. Women have been taught to close off their bodies, cross their legs, and make both their bodies and voices small. Closing off your body generates disempowered feelings, while alternately, taking up space creates a more confident energy. Regardless of gender, it’s important to step into your power, own your voice, own your body, and find a sense of belonging in the space around you.

Build Your Strength. Practice stretching out and taking up space. Sit in the middle of your sofa and get comfortable. Stretch out your arms. Sit with your legs hip width or more apart. Take a deep breath in order to allow your chest and stomach to expand fully, and take a long full exhale. Sink into this space. Repeat a mantra that resonates with you and what you want to work on: “I embrace and find comfort in my space and in my body.” “I belong where I want to be.” “I belong here.” “My existence proves my belonging.” “I belong, and I accept my power.”