Assertive Communication:  Part Two on Self-Advocacy

Welcome to part two of a three-part series on assertive communication. It is a new year and time for new positive beginnings. Start with how you communicate with others. Build bridges and find the support you need to persevere through the expected and unexpected.

Last week, we defined assertive communication. This week we dig deeper. We all need to know how to positively communicate our needs. However, do you understand your needs? Have you defined what matters most to you? Let’s dig into the concept of self-advocacy.

What is self-advocacy?

Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up on your behalf effectively. You might do this to bring about positive results in any of the various contexts in which you interact — whether at work, in organizations, school, community, or family.

Understanding yourself, your values, and your needs

Self-advocacy requires that you first understand yourself (your values, your needs, and your rights) in the context in which you live life. It requires that you are aware of the support that you need and the resources that are available professionally and personally.

Self-advocacy also requires the ability to communicate your value, your needs, and your human rights in a way that will be understood and offer you the greatest return on the ask.

To understand who you are, ask the following questions:

  • What are my values?
  • What matters to me most and why?
  • What are my particular needs? What do I need to accomplish my tasks or fulfill my responsibilities? What do I need to feel respected and to maintain my emotional, physical, and financial well-being?
  • What are my strengths and growth areas?

Understanding your context

Second, you need to understand yourself in the context of your role within the larger group. This means having a good understanding of the family, school, community, or organization’s values, rules, rights, and resources. For instance, look at your family and the role you play in keeping the group productive and healthy. Or look at your place of employment and your role in fulfilling the professional vision and mission. Consider jotting down a list or journaling what comes to mind.

Save these tips. Review the tips. There is more to come…

NEXT STEPS: Check out last week’s post defining assertive communication skills.

©Indigo Stone 2023

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