Are you passionate about what’s happening in the world but don’t know where to start? Do you want to become an advocate, but feel overwhelmed or confused about how you could make a difference?
You don’t have to be a celebrity or an activist to become an advocate, and believe it or not, the best place to begin, is with yourself!
How can you become your own best advocate?
The first and best thing to do, is to zoom out. Take a balcony view of your life. What do you see? Probably a whirlwind, non-stop week that blurs by, filled to the brim with the care of others: kids, spouses, friends, pets, neighbors, co-workers: everyone but yourself, right?
Often, we focus so much on everyone else around us that we completely neglect and forget about the importance of caring for ourselves. Self-care is important and allows us the physical health and mental clarity we need before we can be effective helping others. Self-care cannot be last on life’s long list of priorities.
To become your own best advocate, start here with these tips.
Accept where you are in your own journey
Don’t dwell on the past, the “coulda shoulda woulda,” or wishing you were further along in your goals for the future. Focus on what you can do today, right now, in this moment, to live more fully engaged with those around you.
Challenge yourself to change what you aren’t happy with
Start with setting some small goals. Find 10 minutes a day to set aside for yourself. Go for a walk, sit quietly and breathe, take a bath, read a few pages of a book or a magazine, make your favorite cup of tea, or enjoy some time in nature. Make a list of what you know needs to change, and tackle the items in small ways every day, one step at a time. Keep pushing yourself to work harder, evolve and grow, even through more difficult aspects of your life. Change is possible for everyone, and so much healthier than settling into in a life and routine that we end up dreading and drowning in week after week.
Cheer for yourself even when the world doesn’t.
It is hard to remain positive, especially during our most difficult times. The only person who can truly cheer you on IS YOU!
Start practicing and become your own (and best) cheerleader! We often push away difficult feelings such as pain or fear. This causes us to ignore what is actually happening in our lives. But simply wishing for better days doesn’t make them come. Adding additional struggle or pain to our current experience just makes matters worse. Even though it feels like some hard experiences and difficult emotions will last forever, remind yourself that these too, will pass.
The more we can take a breath and feel the emotions that we are experiencing the easier it becomes to live in the moment.
This is not easy, but it is possible when we are mindful of “right now” and work intentionally to find the beauty around us in nature, in our children, spouses, families and friends in small moments day to day. These moments, combined with cultivating self determination, grit, and resilience, can encourage us to move through difficulty with grace and acceptance.
Don’t give up! You truly can push through the struggle and live your best life, today. Right now.
Turn Negative Into Positive
After my son was diagnosed with autism, I used this unexpected life experience to propel me forward, rather than pull me down.
I created Special Needs Network, California’s premier autism advocacy organization, and became a leader in advocating for state and federal laws to eliminate disparities in state funding for individuals with disabilities.
That simple change in view allowed me to become my own best advocate, and to advocate better for my son and his needs too.
You can do it too, and I know that you will. Start today. Change your view and start on the path to being your own best advocate.