Now is the Time

Now is the Time: Take Your Space

by Malika Amandi

We are living through a time of immense change.

In this climate of tragedy, fear, revolution, and uncertainty, many women are focused on who they need to be for others.

Do any of these thoughts sound familiar to you?

“In this time of global instability and national upheaval, I should not be thinking about my own happiness and ambitions.”

Or…

“Once things calm down, there will be more opportunities to go inward, reflect, and align my life with what I want. Right?”

Wrong! This is the logic that keeps so many women from taking up the space that they deserve. During a crisis, we count on women for so many things—yet the idea of giving anything to ourselves feels inappropriate and selfish.

With The Center for Women’s Voice, I am dismantling this belief and replacing it with a different perspective.

Now IS the time to consider yourself.

Now IS the time to move forward without asking for anyone’s permission.

Now IS the time to connect to your purpose, presence and voice.

I stand by this whole heartedly, and yet I know it is not easy to envision.

This is Legit

One of the biggest obstacles women face in taking time for themselves is thinking that time is a luxury, not a legitimate need. It doesn’t feel right to focus on ourselves or our goals when society is in crisis. For many women, this is an automatic, knee-jerk reaction.

I want to challenge that belief with some questions.

What is the worst possible outcome of you taking space to connect to your values, goals, presence and voice; is it that you would do what you want, be heard, and be powerful? Why is that dangerous?
Can you imagine a world in which tapping into your desires, voice, and power creates a better society? Would this lead to better decisions, fewer victims, and greater agency?

Sometimes our brains exaggerate or polarize what it means to take space—either we are gone for a month or we have no time for ourselves. In reality, you can be there for the people in your life and create moments of solitude and reflection.

Taking space for yourself can be as simple as regularly setting aside 30 minutes, just for you. This is not a call to shirk all of your commitments or leave your family for weeks at a time when they need your help.

Maybe you feel like there isn’t enough time to take some for yourself? Consider that taking 30 minutes to yourself each week only adds up to 2 hours a month. If you take an hour each day, that is still only one hour out of 24. If taking that time feels uncomfortable or scary, ask yourself why: Why is it a challenge? Why does it feel bad? How would it feel instead to believe that your need for space was legitimate?

Communicate Your Need

If you live with others—parents, partners, spouses, kids—whose needs are constantly bumping up against your own, it’s important to clearly express your need for space. Let the relevant parties know that you need time for yourself and are going to take it. When you communicate with the people you live with, you can make them more aware of and sensitive to your needs. If they will temporarily have to shoulder additional responsibilities, this also gives them time to prepare.

If you live alone, it is also incredibly valuable to create dedicated space and time away from your job, away from your social commitments, away from the to-do list, away from the hustle. Even if no one is in your home preventing you from taking time, there can still be so many reasons not to connect to yourself.

Once you’ve made a decision that you will be taking some time for yourself—take it. Consider those moments a personal retreat and a chance to be yourself by yourself. Again, it doesn’t have to be a lot of time. If you can only find 20 minutes, take 20 minutes. Block the time out on your calendar. There is no way to have space without literally making space! Treat this appointment as seriously as you treat other obligations. Make it a priority.

Create Resources

Now that you’ve created a container to show up for yourself, what do you do? Some days, you might opt to do nothing at all. That is a great choice. Other days, you might want something more.

Nurturing yourself can be a combination of taking in inspiration from the outside world and discovering or expressing your internal thoughts.

Start building a list of resources that move you. Maybe it’s an album that stirs you, a book that resonated with you in the past, or a favorite podcast. These are portals you can connect to when you need a reminder of what matters to you.

You can also use writing prompts to go deeper. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  • Write Your Eulogy. What do you want to be remembered for? Write about your life and what you stood for. What do you want your friends, colleagues and family members to say about you? What’s written on your tombstone? This prompt digs beneath the easy answers we have taken for granted to unearth the deeper passions of our lives that we sometimes avoid examining too closely.
  • Imagine you are told that you have three months left to live. What are you going to do in the next three months? What people, places, and events are significant? How will you spend your precious time? After you make your list, take a look and see which of those things you can start doing now.
  • Stop, Start, Continue. Think about your life and ask yourself, what do I want to stop doing? What do I want to start doing? And what do I want to continue to do? Writing these things down helps you figure out what you want right now and shows you the direction you want to move toward.
Take Your Space

One of the most powerful things a woman can do is give herself time to reflect on her needs and desires. It’s truly a revolutionary act, and the tools shared above are helpful ways of getting started.

The Center for Women’s Voice offers a quarterly online guided reflection event,
RITUAL: Release + Renew, to provide accountability and consistency for folks who want to create more space. Having a dedicated time and structure to connect to yourself makes it easier to go deep, explore your values, and confront whatever obstacles are keeping you from speaking up and showing up in life in the ways that you want.

Gathering with other women to go inward is a truly healing and energizing experience. If you, or someone you know, could benefit from this kind of a community go ahead and sign up for the next RITUAL.

A woman taking time to own her voice and pursue her needs and desires is not selfish—she is the opposite of selfish. A woman who knows her worth, uses her voice, takes action to meet her own needs, and is unafraid to pursue her goals creates a safe, just, and beautiful world not only for herself, but for her family, friends, and neighbors. I hope you (yes, YOU), will take some time for yourself this week. You are worthy of it.

With love and respect,
Malika

 


About Malika Amandi and The Center for Women’s Voice
Malika Amandi is a national speaker and coach based in Los Angeles. In 2017, she founded The Center for Women’s Voice, where she teaches women how to communicate effectively and authentically without apologizing or overanalyzing. Through one on one coaching, workshops and online offerings, women tap into their full presence and activate their leadership capacity. Drawing from her own experiences in the entertainment industry and as a professional development facilitator for the military, Malika brings a unique perspective that is both approachable and practical for any woman who wants to be heard.

Since launching The Center for Women’s Voice, Malika has led hundreds of coaching sessions, and facilitated workshops with women across a spectrum of career stages and fields – from the entertainment industry, to Silicon valley, the nonprofit sector, and academia.

You can find out more at centerforwomensvoice.com or on instagram @centerforwomensvoice.

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