One of the most wonderful things in this community is that we all support each other, stand with each other, and share a common bond. But do we do the same for ourselves? Do we even know how to stand up for ourselves?
Advocating for oneself
Self-advocacy can be extremely difficult for many of us. We have often taken a backseat to others in our families, group of friends, and workmates. We turn to professionals for help and then accept what they have to say, regardless of whether we agree. However, each of us is worthy of the care we need to live well with lipedema. We deserve to be heard.
Key elements to self-advocacy
When we gain or regain our sense of control by being successful self-advocates, we also regain hope and self-esteem. Here are a few key elements to becoming stronger advocates for ourselves.
- Believe in yourself.
You are a unique individual and you are worth the effort it takes to stand up for yourself. Your needs are just as important as anyone else’s needs. Gather a support team that believes in you.
2. Decide on what you want.
Make clear choices. Set your goals, and be clear on what you want others to know about you and your needs. Most importantly, be firm with yourself.
3. Do some research.
When you advocate for yourself, you must know what you are talking about. Get information from trusted sources. Check your facts and make sure you have research to back you up. When you have credible sources to back your claims, you appear more reliable.
4. Have a plan.
Using the information you gathered, make a plan. Decide what steps need to be taken for you to get what you want and need. Get honest feedback on your plan from people in your support circle. Listen to their feedback; they have your best interests at heart.
5. Focus your efforts.
Who is it who needs to listen to you? A family member? Friend? Doctor? Agency? Focus your efforts on getting them to listen to you and support you.
6. Be clear.
Express yourself clearly and stick to your point. Don’t let other topics distract you. Also, be assertive, but not aggressive. Take the time to listen to what others have to say, but don’t let them walk all over you.
7. Don’t give up.
You deserve to have your needs met. It’s not always easy, but it is always worth it.
It’s always worth the effort to root for yourself, to be your own cheerleader. I hope you find the courage to stand up for yourself, cheer for yourself, wrap your arms around yourself, and support yourself. Just like you would for any other member of our community.
Advocating for oneself can sometimes be daunting, but we owe it to ourselves. Stand up for yourself because anything is possible with Lipedema!