For years I struggled with self advocation and voicing my opinion. As a young adult, expressing my discomforts and defending my beliefs was the catalyst for severe anxiety attacks and nervousness. My desperation for acceptance was often the root of these incorrigible fears. I didn't know myself and lacked awareness. Self-awareness and asserting one's self is interchangeable, being that you have to be aware of your opinions and feelings in order to effectively voice them. As I grew older, developed more confidence and learned how to advocate for myself, I learned to appreciate my journey of self-promotion and the struggle it took to get there. Through the development of self-awareness I learned how to work harmoniously among different personalities, realized that happiness is not found in ego and some battles are not worth the fight.

I remember the fear that took over my body when I had to tell a coworker, "no." It was as if couldn't walk or breath. My body was shaking uncontrollably. At that time, disagreements and arguments weren't my strong suit. I avoided all pushback the best way I could. Through people pleasing and experiencing high levels of annoyances, I strived to make everyone happy but myself. Eventually I realized that it was completely impossible to live life like this.

His request was pretty ridiculous. The new proposed task involved cleaning up after able-bodied coworkers (I was an administrative assistant in an office). I knew the task was given to me because of my passive demeanor. For the first time, I fearfully voiced my opinion and let it be know that I felt disrespected. It was time to put my foot down. The fear eventually subsided, and guess what? He understood. That was where the embarkment of my journey to self advocation took place. although it was a small feat, it was still a feat nonetheless.

My journey to learn how to speak my voice heightened my awareness with the personalities and actions of others. Through my own self-awareness I could spot individuals who were ruled by ego or suffered from insecurities similar to mine. Egotistical people often prey on the extremely passive, which was the person I used to be. I had the opportunity to see how these types of people operated. With an ego based mentality, validation is considered gold. Placing emphasis on how the world views you is extremely stressful. Those ruled by ego may never reach happiness because praise is an outside force which isn't always guaranteed. I don't have a strong personality, so I learned how to easily maneuver egotistical people. This was helpful when it came to my work environment.

When dealing with strong personalities ruled by ego, you learn that not every battle needs to be fought. Some people need an illusion of winning or control to make the environment more serene. I learned to be OK with people living in their illusions, as long I wasn't affected directly or disrespected. Prior to self awareness I took people and their issues personally. In life, nothing is ever personal. The way others treat you is a true reflection of them and their insecurities. Sometimes the best thing to do is just let it be and have a sense of compassion for unpleasant people living in misery.

Although the struggle of accepting myself was hard, I'm thankful I had to endure it.

Had I not experienced these anxieties, I wouldn't have been forced to figure myself out on a deeper level, in turn learning how to deal with others. I now have the advantage of choosing to pull back or be aggressive, many can't exhibit such control when it comes to emotion or behaviors. I had the best of the passive and the assertive worlds to know how to act according. Sometimes you have to be thankful for your anxieties to overcome them, because it forces you to look where others fail and often blindly struggle.