It’s weird how much I sometimes have to spell something out in my mind for me to act.
Here’s what I mean: I hate confrontation, and I’m a people-pleaser. So, when it comes to advocating/standing up for myself, I struggle and – particularly in the past – would just avoid it entirely.
Then, since having kids, I’ve candidly still felt resistance to advocating for them sometimes – e.g., asking people to mask up around my three-week-old newborn, sending awkward emails about issues at my daughter’s school, asking allll my questions when I was pregnant during my doctor’s appointments even though it felt like I had too many.
I don’t like doing those things. I don’t like to inconvenience or offend people.
In those scenarios, I’ve found that I literally have to say to myself, “You are your daughter’s advocate. It is your job to advocate for her health, happiness, and safety.”
And just saying/thinking those statements clearly to myself helps me act. It motivates me and takes the waffling out of the equation (for the most part).
I wish I’d understood the power of clarifying statements like those back when I struggled to advocate for myself. When I wanted to draw or enforce boundaries and found myself on the fence on whether to do it, I wish I could have understood the power of saying to myself something like:
▻ It is my job to advocate for myself. No one else will care about my happiness as much as I do.
▻ It is my job to create the life I want for myself – and that includes saying no to things that don’t align with the life I want.
Sometimes phrases like “advocate for yourself” sound a little cliché. But when I bring those phrases in league with the phrases I say to myself to gear up to speak up for my kids, they somehow morph into something more empowering, strong, and motivating.
So, for what it’s worth, I share this discovery with you. Don’t just be your kids’ (or other people you take care of) advocate. Be your own – with the same conviction, clarity, and strength. And to get there, don’t be afraid to figure out what phrases you can repeat to yourself that get you in the right frame of mind to do it.