What is being an "advocate" for yourself?

Updated: Mar 9, 2020

The word “advocate” is used to describe someone who supports or recommends someone/something.

I have heard it used when people are labeled “advocates” as they encourage change in a policy. As nurses, we are told to advocate for our patients, for example, by protecting them from medical errors or upholding their wishes.

I have also heard people say things like this...

“I can’t eat that because my diet is too strict." “I don’t like the side effects from my medication that my doctor makes me take." “I can’t feel normal again because I have this disease."

Hearing people say things like this literally makes me CRINGE! What do all of these examples have in common?

They all show that the person has given CONTROL to someone or something else willingly. They choose to listen and follow someone/something and then complain about it!

Have you been guilty of this??

It’s time to be an advocate for yourself! :)

Being an advocate for yourself means looking at yourself holistically, including how every decision you make affects your body, mind, emotions, and other areas of your life. There are some brilliant, loving people to consult such as doctors, family, and friends but they will never know you as well as you know yourself.

When dealing with ANY problem, it is wise to turn to people who have more experience in dealing with that particular problem. However, the difference you must make to be an advocate for yourself is to CONSULT people, not make them the BOSS of your problem.

YOU are your boss. You are in charge of how you feel and what actions you take. If a solution you are trying doesn’t work, then as the boss you look for and try another solution.

That sounds freeing doesn’t it?

Being an advocate gives you more freedom but it also gives you more RESPONSIBILITY. Just ask anyone who has received a promotion to a new position. When you have responsibility over solving a problem, you can no longer blame someone else for unexpected results!

This applies to your health as well.

You will have a doctor tell you to take a medication. You will have a friend tell you to try a diet. You will have a trainer tell you to do an exercise. And the internet will tell you just about ANYTHING right??

But luckily you have an advocate. Someone who will speak up when something doesn’t work or doesn’t help. Someone to decide what actions to take and what actions to change. Someone who knows how you truly feel. Someone who is always there for you.

That person is YOU.

When you decide to be your own advocate, you will always be taken care of!

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