How to Advocate for Yourself in 5 Steps

Take charge of your wellbeing by advocating for yourself.


Self-advocacy means speaking up for yourself, understanding your rights and responsibilities, and making informed decisions. By acting in this way, you can gain greater confidence, make better choices, and improve relationships, according to a blog on Better Up. 

If you can self advocate, you can achieve positive results in a variety of settings. Whether it’s in your career to your community, your voice matters. Here are five steps to learn how to be your own advocate.

Identify your needs and wants
Self-advocacy begins with thinking about what you want and need in different areas of your life, according to the organization Advocacy Focus.  Consider your values, goals, and aspirations. What do you wish to receive in each of these aspects of life? This will help you identify areas where you may need to take action or make changes. 

Suppose you want to be successful at your current job but need help in one area. You can receive the help you need by identifying your needs and communicating them clearly to the right person. As a result, you can set realistic goals and plan your path to success.

Develop your self-advocacy skills
Self-advocacy has three key elements, according to the educational platform Understood. These include understanding your needs, knowing what kind of support might help, and communicating these needs to others. To reflect these elements, building skills such as communication, self-awareness, and navigating resources is essential.

When you develop these skills, you will be able to advocate more confidently and effectively for yourself in the future. And this applies throughout all elements of life. 

Set boundaries and expectations
Advocacy involves establishing boundaries and expectations, according to the Free Your Mind initiative.To accomplish this, you must decide what is acceptable to you and learn how to communicate your boundaries clearly and respectfully.

When setting boundaries, it’s important to remember that you have the right to say “no” and that it’s okay to set limits on what you’re willing to do or accept, according to Healthline. You may find it challenging to set boundaries when you are in a new setting with new people. It’s about finding that happy medium while trying to meet everyone's expectations.

Communicate your needs and wants assertively
Assertive communication means expressing yourself in a direct yet respectful way, according to Healthline. Advocate for yourself by clearly communicating your needs and wants without being aggressive or passive.

Assertive communication involves using “I” statements, speaking calmly and confidently, and listening actively. By clearly stating how you feel and what you need, others can meet these requirements to build better relationships. 

If you need some alone time, communicate this openly with those around you. For example, you could share, "I love spending time alone and find it important for my mental health.” That makes it clear to others that you value downtime to recharge. 

Also, remember it's okay to ask questions or seek clarification if something isn’t clear in situations. If you’re working in a team with others and feel lost in translation, simply ask for clarity. 

Believe in yourself
Last but not least, you must believe in yourself to succeed as a self-advocate. The ability to believe in yourself leads to self-awareness, self-worth, and taking care of yourself, according to the Mental Help,net website.

No one knows you better than you know yourself. Discover that sense of self-confidence to speak up for what you believe in and stand up for yourself when needed. You can boost your confidence by talking positively to yourself, setting goals, taking risks, and practicing mindfulness.

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