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How Your Self-Worth Affects Your Ability to Advocate for Yourself

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you knew you deserved better treatment, but couldn't quite muster the courage to speak up for yourself? Maybe you've stayed silent in the face of disrespect, or agreed to something that didn't feel right in your heart, all because advocating for your own needs felt too scary...


If this resonates with you, you're not alone. So many of us struggle with self-advocacy, especially if we're sensitive souls who have been taught to prioritize others' comfort over our own.


But here's the thing: The way you advocate for yourself is a direct reflection of your self-worth. And if you want to create a life that truly honors your beautiful, authentic self, nurturing a deep love for that very same self is absolutely critical.


The Link Between Self-Worth and Self-Advocacy


At its core, self-worth is the deep, unshakable belief that you are inherently valuable and deserving of love, respect, and care. It's the foundation upon which all healthy relationships are built—including the one you have with yourself.


When you have a strong sense of self-worth, you understand on a bone-deep level that your needs, desires, and boundaries are just as valid and important as anyone else's. You know that you have the right to take up space, to have a voice, and to be treated with kindness and consideration.


And from that place of worthiness, advocating for yourself becomes so much easier. Because when you truly believe you deserve good things, you're far more likely to ask for them—and to walk away from situations or relationships that don't accurately reflect your value.


On the flip side, when your self-worth is shaky or damaged, self-advocacy can feel absolutely terrifying. If you don't believe you're worthy of love and respect, how can you possibly demand those things from others? You might find yourself staying silent in the face of mistreatment or accepting crumbs of affection because you don't believe that you deserve more.


Cultivating Self-Worth, One Choice at a Time


If self-advocacy feels hard for you, know that the journey starts within, with the daily practice of nurturing your own sense of inherent value. The good news is that self-worth isn't something you're born with or without—it's something you can cultivate and strengthen over time with intention and self-compassion.


One of the most powerful ways to build self-worth is by treating yourself with the same kindness, understanding, and respect you so freely give to others. This means speaking to yourself gently, even when you make mistakes.


It means setting boundaries and saying "no" when something doesn't feel right, even if it disappoints someone else.


It means making choices that honor your own needs and desires, even if they go against what you were taught or what others expect of you.


Every time you choose to prioritize your own wellbeing, you send a powerful message to yourself that you matter, and that you're worthy of care and consideration.


And little by little, those choices add up to create a profound shift in how you see and value yourself.


Embracing the Discomfort of Growth


This doesn't mean that self-advocacy will always feel easy or comfortable. Even as your self-worth grows, standing up for yourself can be scary, especially if you're not used to it. You might worry about rocking the boat, or fear that others will reject or abandon you if you start asserting your needs.


Know that those fears are simply signposts pointing you toward the areas where you need to practice more self-love and self-compassion. They're invitations to be extra gentle with yourself as you navigate new territory and learn to use your voice in ways that feel authentic and empowering.


Remember, advocating for yourself is a radical act of self-love. Every time you speak your truth, set a boundary, or ask for what you need, you're planting a flag in the ground and declaring that you matter—that your needs and desires are important.


And even if it feels messy or uncomfortable at times, know that you're doing sacred work. You're unlearning old patterns of self-abandonment and learning to show up for yourself in ways you never have before. You're creating a new way of being in the world—one rooted in worthiness, authenticity, and self-love.


 


Photo of Kelly Judd, life coach for women, a white woman with dark hair and large tortoiseshell glasses, slightly smiling at the camera

Hi, I'm Kelly. 👋 I help you make hard decisions and do hard things. Like you, I spent decades putting others' needs before my own. After almost 20 years of leadership roles and a lifetime’s worth of plot twists in my personal life, I made the empowering decision to seek greater meaning and purpose in my work, helping others to reconnect with their authentic selves and discover the joy, peace, and clarity that comes with finally identifying and prioritizing your own needs.



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