You Know You Best—The Practical Side
Sometimes when I work with kids (and even adults) who struggle to express their feelings or ask for what they need or want I will say, “You know you best.” Or, “You know yourself better than anyone else.” In other words, “speak up for what you think, feel or need because you know what you need best.”
In these moments, I am trying to teach and encourage clients to advocate for themselves. To learn how to say what they need and stand up for themselves. With younger clients, I will even use this opportunity to teach them what the word “advocate” means. My goal is to teach them how to advocate for themselves well and even hopefully feel empowered enough to advocate for others when needed.
If you are a parent, you are already acquainted with the idea of advocacy whether you call it that or not. You will undoubtedly advocate for your child if you see him or her mistreated on a playground or somewhere else in public. You will speak up if a stranger in public says something unkind or rude to your child or at the very least remove your child from the situation.
But how about when the situation becomes more difficult? When you need to stand up for your child, a loved one or friend or even yourself when the stakes are higher. Here are some examples of times advocacy is needed that may be unchartered for you and/or prove difficult:
–Your child is struggling academically in school and the administration states this is only a behavioral issue when you believe your child may have a learning or attention disorder.
–Your partner has been experiencing new and confusing medical symptoms. Their doctor tells them it is nothing to be concerned about, but you feel something serious could be occurring
–Your coworker has told you that her boss has been sexually inappropriate with her and she has tried filing a complaint, but the issue has essentially been pushed under the rug by management.
These are all challenging situations to navigate whether you are the person experiencing them and advocating for yourself, or whether you are involved with the person being affected and choose to advocate for them.
In the personal blog on this topic, I will speak more about the process of advocacy. For now, take inventory of whether you or anyone you care about could benefit from advocacy. Maybe they need a gentle push to advocate for themselves. Maybe they are a child and need you to advocate for them. Or maybe like so many of my clients over the years, they need to learn how to feel comfortable advocating for themselves.
If you are struggling emotionally, we are here to help. Our seasoned mental health therapists are experienced and trained to support you with whatever life challenge you are facing. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to schedule an appointment.