Must do - Learn to speak up for yourself in a way that doesn’t diminish others.
Why - You must follow through with your boundaries when it comes to others. Everyone should learn to finesse not being disrespectful of others’ boundaries when enforcing your own.
So I have always known that I was a lover, not a fighter. I have always believed a valid defense is to walk away and leave it where it stands. For the most part, this is a good practice, but there are many times when you are unable to walk away. You must fight for the right of yourself! Even if fighting is not what you are prone to do. Fighting does not necessarily mean physically either. Learning to advocate appropriately for myself has been the most complex challenge in this earthly life. I always thought that things would work out for good without me getting down and dirty. Life has given me plenty of opportunities to stand tall and advocate, but I didn’t have the capacity to stick up for myself, so I opted out. I always walked away. This was excruciating at times, but I thought it was best. As I got older, I realized that everything is not a stop-and-drop idea. Even if it is hard to do, it doesn’t mean that it should be done. Anything worth having is worth fighting for, in some form or fashion. I began fighting back once I found that walking away caused me to lose myself and all the ideals that I found important and valiant in my life. You stand for nothing and fall for everything.
What I Realized Walking away didn’t change the fact that I was massively affected by these confrontations, no matter how small. The walk doesn’t eliminate the work needed, and sometimes it is a massive overhaul of thought and circumstance. Changing course and walking away did not induce forgetfulness of my desire to have these things, people, or ideals. Sometimes parts of a whole need to be discarded and not the whole in its entirety. Pretending it wasn’t as important as I had made it seem at the beginning began to break down the spirit. I was no longer myself because I walked away from everything, even self.
Additionally, I was already in lots of emotional turmoil daily and only exasperated my feelings of despair by denying my wants and needs. Denial could derail your progress towards happiness. Many tragedies back to back can fracture the core, and when you’re broken, you lash out in more destructive ways. They were still aspirations that I should have stayed focused on. Maybe I should have fought for, stood up against the odds, or even found words to express my actual need instead of playing the never mind role.
How did I begin fighting for self? I would love to say that one day I looked at myself and found myself worthy of the challenge. This would be a great story but not the truth. Life took me to the gutters, and it was either lie down and die or fight for another day. I was at the end of my emotional rope, and I had nothing else to give. I sat in my despair for far too long. It was the spiritual connection I had made with my children that jolted me. At first, I fought for the smallest thing, and that would be just to smile. I decided that I could no longer just cry and let life take its course. My children were massively affected by my lack. I wanted them to be better than I, so I pulled myself up by the bootstraps. On the days I was unable to, my two-year-old did it for me. That someway, somehow, I was going to make myself smile, or she made me smile even if the world did not want me to. I smiled and then did a little something more for myself - I flirted with someone. I allowed someone to give me a call and talk me up a little bit. After the conversation, I found a tiny spark of interest I had for myself. I began to build on that. I began to pamper myself, change my inner dialogue, and slowly everything began to shift. It was definitely not an overnight change. As a matter of fact, ten months later, I am still metamorphosing.
What I Did Next
I learned to advocate for myself healthily and find true friends/professionals that could help support me. It is crucial to establish a network in which you trust to have your best interest in mind. Sometimes it is a counselor, lawyer, or representative that you need. If you are lucky, you may have these professionals right in your family that you trust. Push comes to shove, and you can’t trust those individuals in your family; maybe they can at least refer you to another. Or a potential love interest can give you the interaction you need to start feeling yourself again (literally or figuratively). Advocation skills are most necessary for your ultimate progress towards your happiness. There will be many obstacles between you and ultimate happiness, and even once received, there will be moments in time in which you will need to fall back on being your best advocate. So learn the skill or find a trusted circle of advocates that can speak on your behalf.