The post is titled this way because it is something that I struggle with on a day to day basis, and for me to say that it is important is a significant realization. When choosing to self-advocate it really depends on the way that I feel about the situation then will I express the way that I feel. Often times I am more concerned about the way that other people may feel that I often do not say the things that I need to, to stay in a good place mentally. For me, that is the people-pleasing aspect of me and the fear of abandonment. This isn’t an excuse because I recognize the issue and working on fixing it. I haven’t fully gotten to live it out completely in my life, but I am trying.
I remember for a long time, I thought that I could only be the things that people said that I was and not who I actually am. Then one day I realized the reason that they have the say over my life is that I gave them the power to when I allow them to speak for me and make decisions regarding my life. In those moments is when I stop believing that I was worth anything. I thought for the longest time the only thing that I could be was a servant to another person that could care less about me. My life was based on what I could do for them, and I forgot that I was a person. I woke up every morning to messages demanding me to do something that I didn’t want to do, but since I had a poor reflection of myself I did them anyway. At the time all I wanted was to be validated as a person and what I ended up with was more self-hatred for myself. What I learned was you have to speak up for yourself, know what you value, know what your goals are in life, know what your identity is, and know what you are willing to fight for? Because if you don’t know these things, it makes it easier for someone to manipulate you into doing something outside of your character or believing something that is not true about you.
Maybe sometimes you find yourself struggling to advocate for yourself. It can be for a variety of different reasons, but for whatever reasons those are, its time to stand up for yourself. The ability to self-advocate can take place in every area of your life but starts with your willingness to do it on your end. Going through some of my old journals the way that I started to examine who I was, was by writing these questions and taking some time to answer them. I did not answer them all in one sitting because at the time that I wrote this I was just starting to figure out my identity and it was a struggle. I did not realize how much I relied on the wrong people telling me who I was to have such a negative impact on my life.
The questions that I asked myself were:
- How do I view myself now, and how does it reflect on the person that I want to become?
- Is my past defining me or am I defining me?
- What are the things that are worth fighting for in my life?
- Am I making choices out of convenience? and if so, how can I make choices that are best for me?
- What goals do I have for myself? (Goals can be broken down into every aspect of your life. It is not something that has to be broad unless you want them to be. You can have goals for your education, health, finances, personal, employment, etc.)
- What are you hurting from?
- Where am I broken?
- What makes up my identity?
- What do I believe in?
- What do I value?
- What do I need?
I think that looking at yourself personally is a great place to start and reflecting over some of these questions or all of them will help you with advocating for yourself. Then once you figure out these aspects of yourself, it will make it even easier to advocate for yourself at work, school, doctor’s appointments, events, etc.
If you begin to wonder if it is worth it to you, remember that you matter. No matter the situations that have happened up until now, you matter!