It never occurred to me that I had stopped being my own life and health advocate. I always found comfort in following others. Whether I thrived or I failed was someone else’s responsibility.
And where did that leave me? Not where I wanted to be. Change never comes easy. And there is comfort in staying stuck. Looking back, relying on others relieved my stress and made me feel safe.
But it also left me unhappy and lost. And only when I admitted this did I start to become my own life and health advocate. It was scary. But it was also amazing. Here’s what I did.
I replaced the phrase “I want” with “I will”.
“I want” seems like an innocent enough phrase. But it gave away all of my power. It transformed my life plans into life wishes. And it gave me an easy excuse to back out when things got too difficult. When I left something as just a desire, it existed without commitment. But there was power in saying I “will”. Those words resonated differently in my body. And they made it increasingly probable that I would follow through.
I stopped holding anybody else accountable for my failures.
There was never a dearth of people to blame. I blamed the bad bosses, the horrible teachers and everyone else who had spread negativity into my life. There was the crooked system that kept me down. I mean, you can’t get anywhere without connections. And then there was my genetics. Maybe if I’d been born with higher cheekbones, doors would have more easily opened. And while it felt good to blame, it also took away all of my personal power. Recognizing that I had caused my own failures was extremely empowering. It gave 100% of the power back to me to create the life I wanted.
I started listening to my own body.
I eventually realized that keeping my body healthy was not the responsibility of my doctor. I had to become my own #1 health advocate. And while eating healthy and exercising made a good start, being my own life and health advocate went deeper than that. It meant not viewing my doctor’s opinion as fact, but as educated counsel. It meant seeking a second opinion when something felt wrong. It involved looking at exhaustion, memory problems, and digestion problems as clues on where my health needed the most attention. And it involved me taking final responsibility for my own healthy future.
I started making “someday” today.
It was so easy to say I would do things “someday”. But after watching some years tick by, I realized that my someday speak was just an excuse to avoid fear and discomfort. And that the word someday allowed me to feel connected to a desire, but didn’t offer me anything tangible. And I realized that I had to make someday today. Or I was allowing myself to keep my life on hold. And that wasn’t really living. So I replaced the word someday with today. And that’s when I really started to see my life transform.
I started believing that my voice was powerful.
I grew up not trusting my own instincts. I needed someone else’ approval to feel comfortable moving forward. And so I lived my life listening to everybody else’ opinion. But then I realized the power found in my own inner-voice. I realized that my instincts were, in most situations, the most likely trustworthy source. And that, at the very least, if I was going to listen to everybody else’ opinions. I should at least listen to my own.
Being your own life and health advocate isn’t easy at first.
If you’ve spent years putting others’ opinions ahead of your own, being your own health and life advocate will be scary. Panic might set in. You might think, “who am I to act as an authority in my own life.” But this feeling will be passing.
At the other side, you’ll find strength, power, health and happiness that you never knew existed. And one day you may wake up and recognize that you’re finally firmly in your own life. You’ll finally be the one in control. By being your own life and health advocate you can create a beautiful, thriving existence. But you just need to be willing to take the first step.