Self advocacy is an extremely important social skill that everyone should have. It is not something you’re born with, it is something you build in yourself over time with real efforts. In this blog, you will learn how you can develop self advocacy and stand up for yourself when needed.
Self advocacy is speaking up for yourself, expressing your needs, and asserting your rights. It involves taking responsibility for your own wellbeing and actively participating in decisions that affect you and your life.
Understanding self advocacy is crucial because it enables you to navigate through life with confidence and assertiveness. It makes you speak for yourself whether you have a back or not.
Self advocacy is essential because it allows you to have control over your own life. By advocating for yourself, you can ensure that your needs are met, your voice is heard, and your rights are respected. It empowers you to make informed decisions and take actions that align with your ethics, values, and goals.
In this blog, you’ll learn the importance of self advocacy and 6 important steps that you can take to empower yourself and become more self confident.
Self Advocacy 101: 6 Steps to Empower Yourself and Rock Your Confidence
Self advocacy is your way to show up confidently for yourself. It is how you choose to put yourself first based on your choices in life.
Let’s understand the importance and impact it leaves when you choose to become a self-advocate.
The Importance of Self Advocacy for You
Here are three main reasons why you should practice self advocacy in your life:
1. Practicing self advocacy helps you to develop a sense of self-worth. When you advocate for yourself, you send a message to yourself and others that your needs and opinions matter. You let them know that you realize what you want and you’re here to have it. This boosts your self-esteem and allows you to assert yourself in various situations.
2. Self-advocacy promotes personal growth and development. You gain valuable experience, knowledge, and skills by actively participating in decision-making processes. You become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. You learn how to leverage your strengths to overcome your challenges and pay more attention to work better and improve your weaknesses.
3. Self-advocacy fosters healthy relationships. When you speak for yourself, you set clear boundaries and communicate your expectations effectively. This leads to better communication and understanding, which are essential for building strong, supportive, and successful relationships.
5 Benefits of Practicing Self advocacy
As long as you’re not hurting anybody (physically or mentally), as long as the points you put forward are ethical, there is no harm in taking a stand for what you believe in.
Being a self-spoken person is not wrong. Your conviction will intimidate a lot of people but that is not your problem. If your courage scares people, it shows their lack of self-belief and satisfaction. It has nothing to do with what you should and should not do or say.
Even though self advocacy might come across as rude and selfish sometimes, it is important to practice it because it adds to the value of your life. Here are 5 ways that happen:
1. Self Advocacy increases your self-confidence
Self-advocacy allows you to stand up for yourself, which boosts your self-esteem and self-confidence. When you advocate for your needs and rights, you become more assertive. You build resilience to bounce back from obstacles. Because you understand yourself better, you become more attuned to your needs and wants.
I remember when I chose writing as a career, I had so many people telling me how it’s not “reliable”. But, none of them saw this profession as I did. They didn’t have the vision I did. Even today I get it so often, but as said, they don’t have my vision.
So, I wasn’t afraid to speak up for myself then and I am certainly not afraid to do it now. For me, it was simple – I either fail faster and get onto my choices in life or I spend it regretting what could have been.
I refused to be the latter, thus, here I am living the former. All of this could happen because I spoke for myself in front of my parents. And, I am not afraid anymore to do it in front of anybody else.
2. Self Advocacy improves your decision-making skill
By actively participating in decision-making processes, you acquire valuable skills that help you make informed choices. Self-advocacy enables you to weigh the pros and cons, consider different perspectives, and make decisions that align with your perspectives.
I have learned and unlearned a lot in the past three years. I have taken a lot of decisions for myself, for my business.
All of this could happen because my fear of regret has always been bigger than my fear of failure. Knowing what I want has improved my decisions because I have learned from my mistakes.
I never had any formal guidance or support to rely on when it came to my business. Every single decision I have made has taught me a lot about myself and my aspirations. It has made me understand how my choices and decisions can make or break my life.
3. Self Advocacy enhances your problem-solving skills
Self advocacy requires you to identify and address challenges and obstacles. Through this process, you develop effective problem-solving skills that can be applied to various aspects of your life.
For example, running my freelancing business & scaling this blog has been nothing less than a challenge. In fact, these are the boldest decisions I have ever made in life.
Because I have learned so much on my writing journey, I have also learned how to manage and solve different problems I come across.
Being a digital entrepreneur requires a lot of mindset shifts. The changes I have had in my perceptions have helped me grow as an individual, not just as a writer. While I am on this journey to create a meaningful life, I face new challenges every day.
However, instead of giving up in front of them, I have also learned how to overcome these challenges. Yes, I get worried. I panic a lot but I ultimately figure it out somehow because I know as a creator, I am on my own.
Irrespective of all the emotional support I have from my people, there are some things only I can handle. And my journey has taught me that well.
4. Self Advocacy strengthens relationships
Speaking up for yourself is not limited to your professional setting. It is equally important to take a stand in your personal relationships because family and friends can sometimes misunderstand your silence as your inability to speak.
With family and friends, you would want to keep it cordial because you don’t want to ruin the bond you share with them. But if your family or friends exhibit toxic behavior that is affecting you, then it becomes important to speak for yourself and show them their limits.
When you advocate for yourself, you set clear boundaries and communicate your expectations clearly. This improves your communication and mutual understanding, which leads to healthier and more fulfilling relationships.
5. Self Advocacy increases your independence
Self advocacy empowers you to look after your own life. By advocating for your needs and rights, you become less dependent on others and more self-reliant.
Speaking for yourself gives you a sense of freedom and liberty. Because you’re aware of what you expect from life and you’re down to do anything it takes to bring your vision to life and seek the abundance you want.
How to become Self Confident to be a Self advocate?
Self-confidence is the key to successful self-advocacy. It is the belief in your abilities and worthiness. Building self-confidence takes time and effort, but it is an essential step toward empowering yourself through self-advocacy.
Here are 3 simple ways that will teach you to build self-confidence:
1. Recognize your strengths and opportunities
One way to build your self-confidence is by recognizing your strengths and accomplishments. For this, it is important that you take some time to reflect on your past achievements and the skills you have developed.
Celebrate your successes, no matter how small they may seem. This will help you develop a positive self-image and boost your self-esteem.
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Another effective way to develop your self-confidence is by stepping out of your comfort zone. Challenge yourself to try new things and take on tasks that you find intimidating. As you overcome these challenges, you will gain a sense of accomplishment.
These wins will help you to realize that you are capable of more than you thought. It will show that your own insecurities are nothing but a self-created bubble that is just holding you back from reaching your full potential.
3. Surround yourself with the right people
Surrounding yourself with positive people can also contribute to building your self-confidence. You should seek out individuals who believe in you and encourage your growth. As much as your self-belief matters, having supportive people gives you a massive confidence boost.
The feeling of knowing that you have someone to rely on makes it a little easy to face difficult situations. Their support and encouragement will reinforce your faith in yourself and help you overcome self-doubt.
6 Steps to Empower Yourself Through Self Advocacy
Here are 6 steps that you can take to empower yourself through self advocacy:
1. Know yourself
Understanding your needs, values, and goals is crucial for effective self-advocacy. Take the time to reflect on what is important to you and what you want to achieve in life. This self-awareness will guide your advocacy efforts and you will work in the direction of your passion and purpose.
2. Educate yourself
Spend more time gaining knowledge about your rights, resources, and available support systems. The more informed you are, the better equipped you will be to advocate for yourself. Do your research, ask questions, and seek out information that is relevant to your situation. Your lack of knowledge will cause you more harm than no knowledge at all.
3. Develop effective communication skills
Effective communication is essential for self-advocacy. The more you learn to express your needs and concerns clearly and assertively, the better you are able to stand up for yourself. Strong communication skills are your most righteous weapon to build a strong personality. But make sure you practice active listening to ensure that you understand others’ perspectives and can respond accordingly.
4. Set clear boundaries
Establishing boundaries is crucial for self-advocacy. It is important you clearly communicate your limits and expectations to others. Whether it’s friends or family, at work or at home, be assertive in enforcing these boundaries to ensure that your needs are respected.
5. Seek support
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support when needed. Reach out to trusted friends, family members, or professionals who can provide you with the right guidance and advice. Remember that self-advocacy does not mean you have to do everything alone. You must know that you are loved and you have people to rely on.
6. Take action
The best way to empower yourself is by taking action. Nothing will give you more pleasure than feeling fulfilled after doing the needful. Advocate for your needs, do what is necessary, and actively participate in processes that matter. Don’t think of yourself any less, trust your intuition and believe that your voice matters.
5 Self Advocacy Activities You can practice at Workplace
Practicing self-advocacy at the workplace is essential for your personal and professional growth. Here are five self-advocacy activities that you can engage in to empower yourself in the workplace:
1. Setting clear goals
Set clear and specific goals for your professional development. Communicate these goals to your supervisor or manager and discuss how they align with your career aspirations. Regularly review your progress and advocate for opportunities to achieve these goals.
2. Seeking feedback
Actively seek feedback from your colleagues, supervisors, and clients. Request specific feedback on your strengths and areas for improvement. Record this feedback to improve yourself. Use it to advocate for career opportunities or additional responsibilities that can help you grow.
3. Negotiating for better working conditions
If you find yourself in a work environment that is not conducive to your wellbeing, advocate for better working conditions. This could include requesting flexible work hours, ergonomic equipment, or a more supportive team structure. Clearly convey your needs and concerns to your supervisor or human resources department.
4. Promoting your achievements
Advocate for yourself by promoting your achievements and contributions to the organization. Don’t hesitate to take credit for your successes and ensure that others are aware of your accomplishments. This can be done through regular updates, presentations, or sharing your work with your team.
5. Participating in decision-making processes
Actively participate in decision-making processes that affect your work. Offer your opinions, suggestions, and ideas during team meetings or project discussions. By advocating for your perspective, you contribute to the success of your organization and demonstrate your value as an employee.
Engaging in these self-advocacy activities at the workplace will help you develop confidence, assertiveness, and a sense of control over your career.
4 Ways to Practice Self Advocacy in Your Relationships
Self-advocacy is not confined to the workplace; it is equally important in your personal relationships. Here are some ways you can practice self-advocacy in your relationships:
1. Expressing your needs
Clearly communicate your needs and expectations to your partner, family members, or friends. Be honest and assertive in expressing what you require to feel loved, supported, and fulfilled in the relationship.
2. Setting boundaries
Establish boundaries that protect your emotional wellbeing and physical health. Talk about these boundaries to others and enforce them. Respect yourself enough to say no when something goes against your values or makes you uncomfortable.
3. Active listening
Practice active listening to understand the needs and concerns of your loved ones. Show empathy and validate their feelings. By listening attentively, you create a safe space for open communication. This is how position yourself as an emotionally intelligent person and build stronger connections with your people.
4. Resolving conflicts
When conflicts arise, advocate for yourself by expressing your feelings and concerns. Use assertive communication to express your perspective while considering the viewpoints of others. Instead of provoking others towards lifelong grudges, work towards finding a resolution that meets the needs of all parties involved.
By practicing self-advocacy in your relationships, you create healthier and more fulfilling connections with others. You build mutual respect, understanding, and open communication, leading to stronger and more resilient relationships.
5 Obstacles You must Overcome for Self advocacy
Self-advocacy is not always easy. You may experience obstacles and challenges that you encounter along the way. However, with determination and resilience, you can overcome these roadblocks and continue to empower yourself through self-advocacy.
Here are some common 5 obstacles you may face in self advocacy and strategies to overcome them:
1. Fear of rejection or conflict
The fear of rejection or conflict can hold you back from advocating for yourself. Recognize that standing up for yourself is a fundamental right and that your needs and opinions matter. Practice self-compassion and remind yourself that it is okay to assert yourself.
2. Lack of confidence
Your lack of confidence can cost you a lot in life. It is essential that you build self-confidence for effective self-advocacy. Take the necessary steps, as mentioned above, to boost your self-esteem. Challenge your negative self-talk and focus on your strengths.
3. Lack of knowledge or information
As I said, a lack of knowledge is more dangerous than no knowledge at all. Make sure you educate yourself about your rights in the circumstances. Seek out information that is relevant to your situation and ask questions when needed. When you know your options well, you can find the best solution for yourself.
4. Resistance from others
There will be people who will resist your attempts at self-advocacy. They may challenge your opinions or dismiss your needs. These are the times for you to stay firm in your convictions and continue to assert yourself. Seek support from others who believe in your ability to advocate for yourself.
5. Internal barriers
Sometimes, the biggest obstacles to self-advocacy come from within. Negative self-beliefs, past experiences, or your own victim mindset can hinder your ability to advocate for yourself. You can overcome this by engaging in self-reflection and addressing any internal barriers that may be holding you back. Seek professional help if needed.
Remember that self advocacy is a lifelong journey. It requires ongoing effort and self-reflection. Embrace the challenges and setbacks as opportunities for growth and continue to overcome the obstacles to become better at standing up for yourself.
Self advocacy is an essential social skill that everyone should learn irrespective of their careers and life choices.
Life will often put you in situations where you will have to speak for yourself. Irrespective of all the support you can gather for yourself, life will often demand that you stand up for yourself. And it is in situations like these when your self advocacy skills will need you.
So while you work hard to make the most of your choices in life, make sure you spend some time improving your social skills to grow holistically as a person.
I hope you would have learned something new from this blog, I’ll see you soon in the next one.