Being in the room is standing in a space that desires your full presence. It’s that place of understanding and respect we hold with each other. It is found in all aspects of our lives. When you aren’t metaphorically in the right room, there is little you can do to make that room fit. The dynamics between people create that space and, if that place does not expect and want the best of you, then not only is it not your room, it can never be your room.
I used to joke that I could make an entrance, but for the life of me, I could never make an exit! It was a tongue in cheek analogy for my propensity to trip on doorsteps, but truthfully, for how I engage in my life. A loud enthusiastic ‘hello people’ meant that I could enter most rooms with confidence – boardrooms, interviews, auditions, parties, relationships… But knowing when it was the right time to leave, to make my exit, was typically fumbled. I stayed too long or, the worst, forgot something and had to return! How many times have we realized it was time to depart but stayed anyway – a job, friendships, lovers? It’s very humbling to have made my final dramatic gesture, only to slink back to retrieve my handbag.
The key is of course to exit that room as soon as you realize it’s not your space. That truth is confirmed when you can’t thrive, your contributions aren’t valued or your voice is not respected. In the most toxic situations, your core values are compromised. If that knot rising from your belly stifles your breath at the thought of holding that space, it is not your room. Recognizing you aren’t in the right place, means knowing for what you stand. Boundaries have been set defining your expectations of yourself and of others. In how you treat them, and how you are treated. Life experiences provide the best lessons, and I now try to recognize the signs sooner. If someone you hold space with, makes you doubt your gut instinct, well, back away. Your inner voice is aligned with your core values, and it is to be believed.
The real power comes in the creation of our own rooms. Who is in your room? Do they treat you with honor and respect? Are they fully present in the gift of being a part of your life? Do they allow you, to witness fully the living of their lives? Nate Berkus, in his book The Things That Matter, says “Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love brought together under one roof.’ It’s the ideal analogy for creating our life spaces, our rooms. Who you bring into your room should reflect the life you want to live, and they should want that for you too. An invitation to the room is built on trust and the understanding that what is in your deepest personal space will be honored. It is sacred and it is safe. It is reciprocal and it is earned.
You can’t always choose to leave a room nor to make a graceful exit. The best choice is to be true to yourself. To remember that regardless of the actions of others, your response is your own. For me, I turn to the one thing I know will always make things more bearable. In those instances when it is necessary to hold that space, my only option is to tie my shoes a bit tighter, turn up the music, and dance my way through.
Here’s a bit of dancing music to get you through your room. GO TEAM!
(Thanks Disney and JT)