Is January the month of igniting change? I often internalize goals for wellness and self-care, but I rarely ever act on the goals I set out for myself. I decided that 2021 will finally be the year that I apply the most important goals of self-reflection to change the behaviors and patterns I’ve ritualized over the years. For instance, I’ve always noted that I wanted to stand up for myself more. This is a common element that we try to implement in our lives, but the concept is much easier said than done. Experience is what allows us to push the concept of standing up for ourselves and our self-reflecting thoughts into action.

One of my weaknesses is having the ability to say “no” without feeling guilty or apologetic. Through experience, I have learned that by not saying “no” and not standing up for myself, lead to much despair. I was overworked, stressed, and my health was declining. This also heightened my anxiety to the point where I felt I could barely breathe. I would try to stay positive, even in the darkest of times, because I felt that if I would remain positive, then everything would eventually fall into place. I kept telling myself, “all of this hard-work will pay off, sooner than later,” but sooner became more later as I kept pushing off the idea of self-advocating. Figuring out how I would do this was difficult, but I found it very helpful to talk to others and share my experiences to gain insight and various perspectives.

Building up the courage to express my concerns and advocate change seemed like it would be my absolute worst nightmare. I could think of 100 other things I’d rather do with my time, but then it hit me – If keep this to myself, and I don’t say anything, then I’m allowing this to continue and negatively impact my overall well-being. If I don’t vocalize what I am feeling, then I am allowing this to have control over me. You will feel an instant weight off your shoulders once you build the courage to speak up for yourself in any situation.

I strongly encourage you to try self-advocacy. Don’t doubt yourself, even if you can’t fathom the situation arising. It may take some time, but try talking about it with others, writing it down, practicing “the talk” out loud – whatever method you feel most comfortable with, will allow you to refrain from bottling your feelings and internalizing.

Self-advocacy is imperative, and I cannot express the importance of this, as it applies to everyone (no matter your political beliefs, gender, demographic – we’re all affected by this)! I’ve always heard the phrase, “know your worth,” but I am reluctant to apply it to my life, until now. In 2021, I will give myself time that I deserve to work on self-advocacy and promoting a positive overall wellbeing. Let this be the year of self-advocacy! You will be astounded at how much of a positive difference this will make for yourself, and your overall wellbeing.