Give Yourself Permission to Take Up Space

    —
April 18, 2023

Dearest Friend,

We live in a world full of deadlines. Alarms. Screaming kids. Nagging bosses. More on our to-do lists than we could accomplish in three lifetimes. It’s easy for your needs to get buried underneath the rubble of daily life, and figuring out how to reconnect with your authentic self can feel touch and go… at best.

I wrote Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty to lovingly provide the space for you to better understand your needs, experiment with new habits that help you meet those needs each day, and build a resilient connection with yourself that you can rely upon for good.

You have needs—your needs matter. And yet, you’ve been taught that pushing your needs to the back burner is the only way to get things done, that your needs are an overwhelming burden, or that self-care is a luxury you can’t afford. But the presence of your needs is a fact and not a flaw. You can reclaim your energy and give yourself permission to take up space in the center of your own life.

In Needy, I share my unique approach to identifying, honoring, and advocating for the most tender and true parts of yourself that yearn to be acknowledged. It is an invitation to embody self-acceptance, which leads to meaningful growth in self-responsibility, self-care, self-trust, and self-love.

This book will be a delicious companion for your journey, but you actually can begin caring for yourself with greater tenderness and open communication right now.

I invite you to take the next three minutes to check in with yourself.

Put down your phone, close your computer, and put your hand on your heart.

Breath deeply into your belly and ask yourself:

How do I feel?

What do I need?

What does my body need from me?

What is ONE, doable need that I am ready, able, and willing to meet?

Real self-care is responsive, not prescriptive. The care you are aching for right now will be found in asking yourself those four questions. Give yourself permission to start with one, tangible action.

And repeat as necessary.

Need more? I will see you between the pages of Needy. I am so grateful to be able to share this book with you, and I hope you will share it with the humans in your life who struggle to take up space in this way.

xx Mara

Mara Glatzel, MSW, (she/her) is an intuitive coach, writer, and podcast host. She is a needy human who helps other needy humans stop abandoning themselves and start reclaiming their humanity through embracing their needs and honoring their natural energy cycles. Her superpower is saying what you need to hear when you need to hear it, and she is here to help you believe in yourself as much as she believes in you. Find out more at maraglatzel.com.

Mara Glatzel

Mara Glatzel, MSW, (she/her) is an intuitive coach, writer, and podcast host. She is a needy human who helps other needy humans stop abandoning themselves and start reclaiming their humanity through embracing their needs and honoring their natural energy cycles. Her superpower is saying what you need to hear when you need to hear it, and she is here to help you believe in yourself as much as she believes in you. She resides on the tip of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Find out more at maraglatzel.com.

Author photo © Emily Tebbetts

Also By Author

Give Yourself Permission to Take Up Space

Dearest Friend,

We live in a world full of deadlines. Alarms. Screaming kids. Nagging bosses. More on our to-do lists than we could accomplish in three lifetimes. It’s easy for your needs to get buried underneath the rubble of daily life, and figuring out how to reconnect with your authentic self can feel touch and go… at best.

I wrote Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty to lovingly provide the space for you to better understand your needs, experiment with new habits that help you meet those needs each day, and build a resilient connection with yourself that you can rely upon for good.

You have needs—your needs matter. And yet, you’ve been taught that pushing your needs to the back burner is the only way to get things done, that your needs are an overwhelming burden, or that self-care is a luxury you can’t afford. But the presence of your needs is a fact and not a flaw. You can reclaim your energy and give yourself permission to take up space in the center of your own life.

In Needy, I share my unique approach to identifying, honoring, and advocating for the most tender and true parts of yourself that yearn to be acknowledged. It is an invitation to embody self-acceptance, which leads to meaningful growth in self-responsibility, self-care, self-trust, and self-love.

This book will be a delicious companion for your journey, but you actually can begin caring for yourself with greater tenderness and open communication right now.

I invite you to take the next three minutes to check in with yourself.

Put down your phone, close your computer, and put your hand on your heart.

Breath deeply into your belly and ask yourself:

How do I feel?

What do I need?

What does my body need from me?

What is ONE, doable need that I am ready, able, and willing to meet?

Real self-care is responsive, not prescriptive. The care you are aching for right now will be found in asking yourself those four questions. Give yourself permission to start with one, tangible action.

And repeat as necessary.

Need more? I will see you between the pages of Needy. I am so grateful to be able to share this book with you, and I hope you will share it with the humans in your life who struggle to take up space in this way.

xx Mara

Mara Glatzel, MSW, (she/her) is an intuitive coach, writer, and podcast host. She is a needy human who helps other needy humans stop abandoning themselves and start reclaiming their humanity through embracing their needs and honoring their natural energy cycles. Her superpower is saying what you need to hear when you need to hear it, and she is here to help you believe in yourself as much as she believes in you. Find out more at maraglatzel.com.

Learn More
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Mara Glatzel: What Do You Need?

We all have needs. Yet why is it so difficult to honor them? In this podcast, Tami Simon speaks with Mara Glatzel about her book, Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty, and how we might begin to answer the profound question: What happens when we take radical responsibility for our needs? 

Tune in for an empowering and indeed much-needed conversation about “giving ourselves permission to take up space in the center of our lives,” exploring: building a working vocabulary around needs and feelings, the disempowering stories we carry about what it means to have needs, the daily practice of identifying your needs, the harmful habit of consistently putting your needs aside, asking for the fullness of what you want, developing a strong self-partnership, shifting from people-pleasing to setting boundaries, Mara’s practice of “staying low and open and receptive,” self-care and “staying in the game,” making commitments that matter, knowing your job and their job when it comes to conversations about needs, the fallacy that one person alone can meet another’s vast and myriad needs, accessing your body’s intelligence, working in your inner landscape, sovereignty amid relationship and interdependency, the challenge of receiving everything you’re asking for, and more.

Note: This episode originally aired on Sounds True One, where these special episodes of Insights at the Edge are available to watch live on video and with exclusive access to Q&As with our guests. Learn more at join.soundstrue.com.

The End of All-or-Nothing, Emergency Self-Care

What message are you giving to yourself when you wait until you’re in crisis before you begin caring for yourself? I used to be deeply entrenched in this pattern. I’d care for myself just enough so that I could be productive again and then get back to work until my next care emergency. I’d crash from striving and producing without a thought to my needs and then stop just long enough to treat myself just kindly enough to nurse myself back to health so that I could resume my breakneck speed.

Those days were exhilarating because even in my burnout I felt so purposeful, high on how good I was at pushing my needs aside to tackle whatever needed tackling. Exceptionally good in a crisis, I felt born for running myself into the ground and then picking up the pieces just enough to get back to work. Even as this pattern started to break down for me, I could feel my ego attachment to it. I was good at getting things done. I was good at helping others. I was good at putting everyone else’s needs ahead of my own. I was good. I was good. I was good.

The tricky thing about this pattern is that needs will get met one way or another. They don’t just vanish or disappear when you ignore them. They become rowdier and rowdier, nipping at your heels as you try to outrun them. Your body is infinitely wise and makes more noise as your ache for care compounds itself. When you ignore your needs long enough, you will be forced to prioritize yourself by circumstance, illness, or burnout, bringing you abruptly to the crisis point of having to slow down.

But even in the face of that, attending to the need for sustenance can sometimes still feel impossible if you are exhausted from a lifetime of holding it all together. While the need for sustenance might seem to come before rest, [in my book Needy] I ordered these chapters deliberately [“Rest” coming before “Sustenance”] because having the energy to start asking big questions about what you need requires energy too. You’re crumbling beneath the weight of your conditioned expectations for yourself and others, and you judge yourself for not being about to do it all without a thought for the energetic capacity necessary to prioritize joy, pleasure, or satiety.

You might think, Well if it’s right, it should feel good or it should be easy. But tending to your needs can be almost boring, and having the capacity to investigate the larger picture of what you are hungry for requires energy. It requires stamina and self-awareness to develop a healthy relationship with yourself after being in a dysfunctional relationship—one that’s chaotic, intense, familiar, thrilling, and compelling even when you know there is no way it will all work out in the long run. After a dramatic relationship like that, a relationship in which you are respectful of each other, loyal, trustworthy, and committed to each other can feel boring—but that kind of steadfast love heals and rebuilds a steady foundation of trust. The same is true for your relationship with yourself.

Self-love so often isn’t a flash-in-the-pan,
Instagram-worthy, wait-until-the-moment
is-perfect-and-the-stars-align kind of love.

It’s about showing up for yourself each and every day and doing what needs to be done. Maybe that’s resting. Maybe that’s calling your lawyer. Maybe that’s dealing with the window that is leaking and the moldy floorboards. Taking care of yourself is showing up for your relationship with yourself each day, asking what needs to be done and doing that to the best of your abilities.

It can be mundane, but as you begin making these shifts for your own sustenance, you might find yourself softening into a rhythm and routine of caring for yourself this way. 

There is a deliciousness in knowing you will be there when you need yourself. There is a sense of safety in the self-trust you build each time you choose not to abandon yourself. This work can be messy but also joyful, silly, sexy, creative, and playful. You might find yourself enjoying the celebration of infusing pleasure and sovereignty where there was none before.

And with time, you might realize that the purpose of your life is not to be good, productive, or approved by others. The purpose of your life is for YOU to live it. For you to take up space in your own thoughts and actions. For you to tend to your needs, devoting yourself to your own wholeness each and every day. For you to contribute to the world in the way that only you can. For you to love and be loved. For you to play. For your utter enjoyment and wholehearted pleasure. The purpose of your life is not to be nice and polite. It is for living—messily, humanly, in whatever way you feel is good and right for you.

Excerpted from Needy: How to Advocate for Your Needs and Claim Your Sovereignty by Mara Glatzel.

Mara Glatzel, MSW, (she/her) is an intuitive coach, writer, and podcast host. She is a needy human who helps other needy humans stop abandoning themselves and start reclaiming their humanity through embracing their needs and honoring their natural energy cycles. Her superpower is saying what you need to hear when you need to hear it, and she is here to help you believe in yourself as much as she believes in you. Find out more at maraglatzel.com.

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5 Tools to Create More Space in Your Mind

Busyness, distraction, and stress have all led to the shrinking of the modern mind.

I realize that’s a strange thing to say. Most of us don’t think of our mind as something with space in it, as a thing that can either be big or small, expensive or claustrophobic.

But just think about the last time you felt overwhelmed, stressed, or out of control. Chances are, you might not even have to think that hard. You might be experiencing that state right now as you read these words.

What happens in these moments? 

First, our mind wanders. It spins through all sorts of random thoughts about the past and the future. As a result, we lose touch with the direct experience of present time.

Second, we lose perspective. We can’t see the big picture anymore. Instead, it’s like we’re viewing life through a long and narrow tunnel. We become blind to possibility, fixated on problems.

Put these two together and you’ve got the perfect recipe for eradicating space in the mind. The landscape of the mind begins to feel like a calendar jammed with so many meetings, events, and obligations that these neon colored boxes cover-up even the smallest slivers of white space. 

So it could be nice for our partner, for our kids, and, mostly, for our ourselves to consider: how can we create more space in the mind?

Here are five tools for creating mental space. If you want to go deeper, check out my new book with Sounds True on the topic called OPEN: Living With an Expansive Mind in a Distracted World.

1. Meditation.

You’ve no doubt heard about all of the scientifically validated benefits of this practice. It reduces stress. It boosts productivity. It enhances focus.

That is all true. But here is the real benefit of meditation: it creates more space in the mind. To get started, try it out for just a few minutes a day. Use an app or guided practice to help you.

2. Movement.

So, maybe you’re not the meditating type. That’s fine. You can still create space in the mind by setting aside time for undistracted movement.

The key word here is “undistracted.” For many of us, exercise and movement have become yet another time where our headspace gets covered over by texts, podcasts, or our favorite Netflix series. 

There’s nothing wrong with this. But it can be powerful to leave the earbuds behind every once in a while and allow the mind to rest while you walk, stretch, run, bike, swim, or practice yoga.

3. Relax.

When it comes to creating headspace, we moderns, with our smartphone-flooded, overly-stimulated, minds seem to inevitably encounter a problem: we’re often too stressed, amped, and agitated to open.

Relaxation – calming the nervous system – is perhaps the best way to counter this effect and create more fertile ground for opening. When we relax – the real kind, not the Netflix or TikTok kind –  the grip of difficult emotions loosens, the speed of our whirling thoughts slows, and, most important, the sense of space in our mind begins to expand.

How can you relax? Try yoga. Try extended exhale breathing, where you inhale four counts, exhale eight counts. Try yoga nidra. Or, just treat yourself to a nap.

4. See bigger.

When life gets crazy, the mind isn’t the only thing that shrinks. The size of our visual field also gets smaller. Our eyes strain. Our peripheral vision falls out of awareness.

What’s the antidote to this tunnel vision view? See bigger.

Try it right now. With a soft gaze, allow the edges of your visual field to slowly expand. Imagine you’re seeing whatever happens to be in front of you from the top of a vast mountain peak. Now bring this more expansive, panoramic, way of seeing with you for the rest of the day.

5. Do nothing.

Now for the most advanced practice. It’s advanced because it cuts against everything our culture believes in. In a world where everyone is trying desperately to get more done, one of the most radical acts is to not do — to do nothing.

Even just a few minutes of this paradoxical practice can help you experience an expansion of space in the mind.

Lie on the floor or outside on the grass. Close your eyes. Put on your favorite music if you want. Set an alarm for a few minutes so you don’t freak out too much. 

Then, stop. Drop the technique. Drop the effort. Just allow yourself to savor this rare experience of doing absolutely nothing.

Nate Klemp, PhD, is a philosopher, writer, and mindfulness entrepreneur. He is the coauthor of the New York Times bestseller Start Here and the New York Times critics’ pick The 80/80 Marriage. His work has been featured in the LA Times, Psychology Today, the Times of London, and more, and his appearances include Good Morning America and Talks at Google. He’s a cofounder of LifeXT and founding partner at Mindful. For more, visit nateklemp.com or @Nate_Klemp on Instagram.

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Parker Palmer: Welcome to the Human Race

Why is depression so hard for us to bring out into the open? Why does it stir up so much shame and fear? How can we shift our view of depression from a problem that needs to be fixed to a gateway to empathy, courage, wholeness, and belonging? These are the profound questions explored by Tami Simon and Parker Palmer in this incisive, insightful podcast. 

Join Tami and Parker as they discuss: Being present for those in depression; suffering and empathy; courage and resilience; integrating (rather than disowning) experiences of depression; showing up in the world as who you really are; the vast intelligence of life—and the weaving of shadow and light; embracing paradox; Parker’s metaphor of “living at altitude” (or the level of ego) vs. living from one’s soul; depression as a befriending, grounding energy; how Abraham Lincoln’s depression served as a force of reconciliation for a nation at war with itself; learning to be “hallowed by our diminishments”; and more.

Self-Love is a Superpower

Dear Sounds True friends,

I believe self-love is a superpower.

When we treat ourselves with kindness, it turns on the learning centers of the brain and gives us the resources to face challenges and learn from our mistakes. Transformation requires a compassionate mindset, not shame.

And yet, people often worry that self-love will make them lazy, self-indulgent, or self-absorbed. Science shows just the opposite: people with greater self-love are more compassionate toward others, more successful and productive, and more resilient to stress.

The best news of all: self-love can be learned. We can rewire the structure of our brain and strengthen the neural circuitry of love toward ourselves and others. Each time we practice self-love, we grow this pathway.

My new children’s book, Good Morning, I Love You, Violet!, offers a road map for strengthening your child’s brain circuitry of deep calm, contentment, and self-love.

It is built on principles of psychology and neuroscience and offers a simple yet powerful practice.

As a mother, when asked what I believe is the most important thing we can teach our children, I always answer “self-love.” Learning to be on our own team and to treat ourselves with kindness is life-changing. There is no greater gift we can give our children. There is no greater gift we can give ourselves.

May this book plant seeds of kindness that ripple out into the world.

Shauna's signature

Shauna Shapiro, PhD

P.S. I invite you to download a free coloring sheet from the book, created by illustrator Susi Schaefer, to enjoy with the children in your life.

Shauna Shapiro is a mother, bestselling author, professor, clinical psychologist, and internationally recognized expert in mindfulness and self-compassion. She lives in Mill Valley, California. Learn more at drshaunashapiro.com.

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