I was the quiet girl in school. You know, the one off to the side observing everyone while silently pretending to read a book. I was terrified of embarrassing myself in front of my peers. I did not want to make a spectacle of myself or reveal any vulnerability. In my mind, it was better to be unseen than to be the subject of gossip or scrutiny. Perhaps, it kept some feelings at bay, but it ultimately limited my opportunities. When you advocate for yourself, it feels like a little piece of confidence is restored within you. In the past, there were times when I should have spoken up for myself but did not. As a result, the silence hindered me instead of helping me.

Admitting vulnerability is not a weakness; it is one of the strongest things a person can do. I know many will disagree with me, and that’s okay. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Vulnerability is signaling to another person that you trust them. Having someone’s trust is a great honor. There must also be trust for there to be success. Staying silent only allows your feelings and thoughts to fester without a result, while speaking up sets you free. It gives you the key to unlock the next level for yourself. It is the truest form of “taking life into your own hands .” Anyone who has chosen to advocate will tell you that it does not always work out the way you planned, but it is always worth it. It certainly is not easy and takes much practice. .

I look at it like this. When you are at the store and cannot find a product, do you ask for help? If yes, you find the product and leave within ten minutes. If not, you spend 20 more minutes looking for the product only to ask an associate 20 minutes later. It may not always make this big of a difference, but you get the point. What about the next time someone hurts you with their words? Should you stand there and take it? Should you attack them verbally? Of course not. Instead, be honest and let them know why what they did hurt you. Help them understand why it was triggering for you, so they won’t make the same mistake again. You do not need to be rude about it; instead be kind and see the difference it makes.

I know that it is not human nature to be open and honest, but we have seen the benefits time and time again. So the next time someone speaks to you disrespectfully, tell them, “I am sorry for whatever happened to you to make you talk to me that way, but I do not deserve that.” What is the person going to say? “You’re a jerk?” I don’t think so. Often times you will hear, “People accept the love they think they deserve.” My response to that is to know your own worth. Know what you deserve and accept nothing less or short of the best.