Stand up for yourself
This past week I did something really hard. I stood up for myself – and yeah, that doesn’t sound difficult, but sometimes it is. I’m usually the type of person that doesn’t ruffle feathers or rock the boat in most cases. But I’ve learned over time that the only person that will advocate for me, is me. If I don’t value myself, if I don’t stand up for myself, if I don’t believe in myself – then why would anyone else?
Let’s just say I’ve felt taken advantage of at work, and my requests over the past two years have been brushed under the rug. So I stood my ground and asked for clarity on my role and responsibilities to be made a priority. I then felt uneasy all day like I had done something wrong. But I didn’t. I communicated how I felt in a respectful way and asked questions and for clarification.
We shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for what we believe, for ourselves, or for others – as long as we do it respectfully and rationally for things that really matter. If I stand up for things that are important to me, and others brush me off, or ignore me, then I know I’m not valued and it’s time for me to put my efforts elsewhere. I also go by the theory that it (almost) never hurts to ask. This past year I asked to travel and go to a learning institute at work. I thought for sure it would be a hard no because of the cost, but to my surprise it was approved. Had I been too afraid to ask, or listened to the negative self talk in my head telling me it wasn’t ever going to happen – then I would have never had the amazing opportunity that I was able to experience.
Too often do we underestimate our own value or what we bring to the table. When that happens, others then agree with us and don’t see our value either. This is in all relationships, both personal and professional. We have to respect ourselves for others to respect us. We have to believe in ourselves for others to believe. We also have to be prepared to walk away if we aren’t valued or respected. That’s probably the hardest part. For me in relationships, I’m more afraid to lose the other person, than I value being treated the way I should. But I’ve learned that at the end of the day, being alone is far better than being in a situation or relationship where I am not respected, or valued. That’s a really hard lesson to learn – and even harder to take that plunge when you realize you’re in that position.
I’ll never forget one of the hardest homework assignments I had from my therapist was to wrote a letter to myself explaining all the good things about myself. When you have low self esteem, this is almost impossible. But I wrote it, and edited it, and tried to delete the phrases of uncertainty. And then I read that letter to myself often, and I remembered who I was at the core – and what my value was.
So this week, I challenge you to write down your value or worth. What do you bring to the table? Write down all the amazing things about yourself. Then read it out loud to yourself when you’re done. It’s really powerful!
Voice of a Phoenix