It feels horrible when you’re being walked all over or not being listened to, right? It can be one of the most frustrating things to experience and then, you may feel worse when you don’t speak up. Learning how to advocate for yourself is one of the most useful tools you can learn.
When you advocate for yourself, you enjoy better relationships, greater career development, and your confidence will naturally boost. It’s a powerful thing to stand up for yourself.
What Advocating For Yourself Looks Like
Sometimes, it can be hard to determine when to stand up for yourself. You may be afraid of being rude, disrespecting someone, or being offensive. Here’s the thing though – you deserve to advocate for yourself and your needs.
I’ve been encouraging friends and clients alike to stand up for themselves in a number of different ways:
- Pushing back when feedback from your therapist didn’t seem fair or called for.
- Standing up for yourself in a new job when they’ve changed the role and expectations from what you originally agreed upon.
- Holding your ground when someone is treating you with disrespect.
- Validating and honoring your feelings (rather than listening to the critical voice in your head).
Yep, sometimes you need to advocate for yourself against your own inner critic – super normal.
Standing up for yourself takes practice and a commitment to honoring how you’re worthy of being treated. Remember, you deserve to be heard.
Ways to Advocate for Yourself
Let’s start practicing your new skill now. These are five ways you can begin to stand up for yourself. Start small and be consistent – it will get easier!
Speak Up for Yourself
When your needs aren’t being met, it can be incredibly frustrating. You may bottle it all up until you explode on someone who finally crosses the line or you allow yourself to numb out. These needs may be related to support required for a task at work, communication gaps from your partner, or space from a friend.
Learning how to notice your needs and then say them out loud is a huge way to advocate for yourself. Even if the other person can’t meet your needs, being able to speak and acknowledge them goes a long way.
Set Boundaries for Advocacy
Boundaries is one of my favorite words when I’m talking about all relationships – friends, romantic partners, families, co-workers. Setting and holding them is a powerful way of standing up for yourself.
With boundaries, you can say no to things you don’t want to do. You can create consistent requests for how to have your needs met and feel respected by those around you. It’s not easy, but over time, setting boundaries becomes a natural element to every relationship.
Say “No” to Things
Being a “yes” person can be a great high five to your inner people pleaser. It can help you to feel valued and worthy when people can rely on you to always be there for projects, errands, favors, or a place to dump their feelings. However, saying “no” to things you don’t want to do will help you advocate for your needs and keep from burning out.
I will admit, the experience of saying “no” to something can be a major mixed bag of emotions – relief, worry about the impact, joy, terror. It all mixes together and it may take extra effort to process afterward. Let that be okay!
Trying new things can be scary, but remember this – you saying “no” gives others permission to say “no” too. Which, would make us all a lot happier and energized.
Self Care as Advocacy
Practicing self care is one of the best ways to advocate for yourself TO yourself. It’s not only about the one-off moments that you get to take care of yourself, it is more of a daily practice. Not a practice of luxury bubble baths, but rather asking yourself each day, “what do I need right now?” and then following through.
Self care is the act of honoring your needs, but sometimes it takes a bit of practice to know what your needs are. Try asking yourself:
- What is my body asking for right now?
- Is my mental health needing anything?
- How can I support my emotions right now?
- Is my spirit/soul craving anything?
Validate Your Emotions
This is about advocating to the voice in your head that is calling you crazy or invalidating your current emotions. Remind yourself, how you’re feeling and the emotions your experiencing are always valid. While you need control over how you respond to your emotions, it’s always okay to feel!
One of my favorite ways to do this is with “of course statements,” as a simple way to advocate for my emotions. I’ll tell myself, “of course I feel angry that she said that” or “of course I’m sad about my breakup.” You’re human, with feelings, that’s okay!
Remember This When Advocating for Yourself
Asking for your needs and speaking up for yourself does not make you a bad, mean, or insensitive person. At all. You get to be a kind, loving person AND fiercely advocate for yourself.
- It is safe for your to honor and speak up for your needs.
- You don’t need to justify your boundaries, values, or desires to anyone else.
- You are worthy of being respected, heard, and seen.
Where are you not advocating for yourself? Journal on this today and make some commitments for where you’ll start standing up for yourself regularly.
I believe in you,