Last week I was speaking with a father who has a deaf son and one of his questions was, “When did you learn to advocate for yourself?” I thought about that question and I was trying to think of that one moment where I was okay and confident in advocating for myself with my hearing loss. But, there was no one moment that stood out to me, rather it was a series of events that taught me important life lessons.
Just like learning to play the piano, it takes time and practice. You have to learn the basics of the piano, how it works, what the keys are and what note they belong to. Once you get the basics, you start with simple music sheets and move forward as you practice more. The same goes for advocating for yourself. One of my favorite quotes is from a Japanese Proverb which says, “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”
Just like practicing the piano, you are going to make mistakes. If you give up after the first few mistakes you will never know what you can achieve. Knowing that you might feel shy about advocating for yourself and feel like a fool when you try to speak up, it is important to make a goal to keep trying. Growing up my parents would often say to my siblings and me, “You can do hard things.”Here are a few things that I found helpful when I was finding my advocate within.
- Surround yourself with those who believe in you.
- Have Faith.
- Joy in the Journey.