Finding your voice: How to gain confidence and speak up
This is the second post in our self-advocacy series. In this series we’ll help you gain the confidence to make positive changes in your life with self-advocacy.
In our last blog post, How to take charge and change your life with self-advocacy, we explored the power and importance of advocating on behalf of yourself, a skill that allows you to speak up for your needs and the needs of those you love.
In many of our programs here at the YWCA our work is not about becoming the voice of those in need, but about empowering women to find their own voices so they can get the services and supports they need to gain greater independence.
As mothers, we are the best advocates for our children and ourselves. It’s important we recognize our needs and seek out resources and support to create the best possible life for ourselves and our families.
So how do you speak up, especially if you’re not very outspoken by nature? These tips will help you find your voice:
- Pick something worthwhile. You’re way more likely to speak passionately, to follow through and to put the work in if you have a deep and personal connection to it. What could gaining help or support in this area mean for you and your children?
- Consider the impact. We’re more inclined to find our voice if we think it matters. How could advocating for your needs here really change your life in a positive way? How could it pave the way for others?
- Practice with those who care first. No one likes cold calling and this is especially true in advocacy. Instead of trying to start off speaking to a stranger, try making your case to another parent or friend first. Get your points down. Listen to their feedback. What questions came up that you want to answer before you bring it to the people in charge?
- Build momentum. You know the old adage ‘it takes a village’? Sometimes we don’t advocate for our needs because we feel like a lone voice. If you have a worthwhile cause or a concern that requires advocacy, it’s very likely others share the same problem. Try to rally some support. Create a Facebook group, talk to other people in the same situation or get friends and family members on board. Who else could be positively impacted by you speaking up?
Sometimes it’s hard to find our voice in the midst of our other responsibilities and pressures, but it’s so important. If we don’t speak up for what we need it’s possible we will miss out on valuable services and supports. Challenge yourself today to think about how your voice might make an impact—in your life, your family’s lives and beyond.
Do you have tips to share about self-advocacy? Post a comment below or share on our Facebook page.
YWCA Single Mothers' Support programs in Abbotsford, Aldergrove, Maple Ridge, Surrey and the Tri-Cities are fully funded by a unique partnership among Coast Capital Savings, Envision Financial and Vancity credit unions. Programs in Vancouver are funded in part by the City of Vancouver.