Personal Development

How To Advocate For Yourself In Life

You deserve greatness. 

That’s not just something you see on a bumper sticker and ignore. It’s time for you to believe it. The reality is, there aren’t many people in your life who are going to advocate for you. Sure, you have friends, family members, and colleagues who will compliment and encourage you. But, it’s up to you to step up and advocate for your greatness and your worth. 

We live in a world where there’s a stigma against being your own advocate. People worry about being overly confident or coming across as cocky. There’s a difference between standing up for your worth and showing off or being condescending. So, what can you do to stand on the right side of that line? How can you be your own advocate and truly get what you deserve? 

Let’s cover a few tips to help you understand how and why advocating for yourself is so important. When you feel more confident in standing up for what you really deserve, your life can change quickly, kicking off a new positive direction that can help you live every day to the fullest. 

What does self-advocacy look like? 

If you’ve never stood up for yourself and what you deserve, you might not fully know what self-advocacy looks like. Unfortunately, that’s why it often gets negatively stereotyped. Self-advocacy isn’t a display of pride or over-confidence. It’s simply the ability to speak up on your behalf — especially when no one else will. 

Self-advocacy looks different for everyone, which is why it’s so important to learn how to speak up for yourself in a straightforward way. Some of the biggest benefits of self-advocacy include a greater sense of accomplishment, better self-esteem, and even a deeper sense of belonging. You’ll learn more about who you are, what you value, and how those values play a role in your life. 

To get started, ask yourself what those values are. What really matters most to you, and why? What are your needs, strengths, and weaknesses? While there’s more to self-advocacy than these questions, being able to answer them will give you a starting point and can serve as a launching pad for learning how to effectively speak up for yourself.  

With that in mind, let’s cover a few strategies you can use to advocate for yourself in different areas of life. You might be surprised by the changes that occur when you choose to take a positive stand. 

Speaking up for yourself in every area of life

You might find it easy to stand up for yourself around people you trust and love. Family members and close friends are more likely to listen to your needs and wants, and they’ll be more willing to respect your boundaries if you lay them out clearly. But, if you’re only speaking up about your needs with those closest to you, you aren’t reaching your full potential.

One of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face is advocating for yourself in the workplace. However, it’s also one of the most important places to stand up for your needs and wants. Workplace stress is extremely high, and some of it has to do with employees not feeling seen, heard, or valued.  You might even feel burnt out at work because of a demanding schedule, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of appreciation. Discussing burnout, or other mental or physical health conditions with your employer might initially be scary, but it’s likely the only way you’ll see positive change in your workplace environment. Some of the best ways to speak up about your health at work include: 

  • Educating yourself on your rights;
  • Reviewing your company policy;
  • Gathering evidence;
  • Keeping your goals in mind;
  • Outlining your main points;
  • Providing solutions.

If it’s not necessarily your health you’re concerned about, but where your career is headed, the same rules apply. Create specific goals and put together a “career map.” Then, focus on your strengths and skills, as well as what energizes and inspires you. When you’re armed with knowledge and motivation, it’s much easier to speak up with confidence. 

Of course, work isn’t the only place where it’s important to self-advocate. It’s important to speak up for your needs and wants everywhere, especially in places where you might feel like you’ve been taken advantage of before.

Why is advocating for yourself important? 

We’ve barely scratched the surface when it comes to different situations that benefit from self-advocacy. But, the core principles don’t change. Take the time to learn who you truly are, and don’t be afraid to let your values come forward in everything you do, even when that requires speaking up for what you deserve. 

Advocating for yourself not only helps others understand what you’re going through and what you need, but it can completely change the way you see yourself and your life, too. Self-advocacy helps with: 

  • Self-worth;
  • Conflict resolution;
  • Resilience;
  • Distress tolerance.

The more you advocate for yourself, the easier it will be to discover your real identity. Even as an adult, it’s never too late to learn more about who you are and what inspires you. It’s especially important to advocate for yourself if you’ve spent most of your life staying quiet and not expressing your needs. Maybe you had a difficult childhood where those needs weren’t met. Maybe you’ve experienced a bad relationship where you were shamed whenever you spoke up about needs, wants, or feelings. 

Don’t let the past dictate your future. You deserve greatness. It isn’t just a saying — it’s a fact. By advocating for yourself in every area of life, you can achieve that greatness and finally experience relationships and situations where your needs are prioritized and met.

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