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S2 EP150 – Becoming a Loving Advocate for Yourself

Episode Summary

Do you advocate for yourself with the important people in your life, or are you allowing fear and a desire to control others to guide your actions? Are you aware of the stress you might be causing yourself due to not speaking up and advocating for yourself?


Hi everyone,

Dr. Margaret Paul here with the Inner Bonding podcast. Today, I’m speaking to a topic that is very important to me – being a loving advocate for yourself.

There are many areas in which we need to advocate for ourselves, such as in our relationships with family and friends, at work, and with professionals such as doctors, attorneys, educators, and psychotherapists.

For me, this has often been important with doctors. Because I’ve been eating natural and organic for over 60 years, I don’t need the tests and procedures that many others, who have been eating the Standard American Diet, need to have. So I’ve needed to advocate for myself in the face of them pushing procedures, tests, and even drugs on to me.

One of the experiences I had concerned the thyroid I need to take. Unfortunately, my uncle, who was a doctor, convinced my mother to put me on thyroid when I was 13 years old, and I’ve had to be on it ever since. Numerous doctors put me on synthetic thyroid, and I always had a very bad reaction to it, so eventually I found a natural form of thyroid which works for me and which I take a small amount of.

But some years ago, when we moved to a new city, I had to find a new doctor to get my thyroid prescription. He insisted that I take a synthetic form of thyroid, telling me that the thyroid I was taking wasn’t standardized and could cause me problems – even though I told him that I had been taking it for many years with no problems. He didn’t believe me, and he didn’t believe that I had adverse reactions to all synthetic thyroid medications. He told me that if I didn’t do what he told me to do, he wouldn’t see me as a patient. I stopped seeing him and fortunately found a doctor who gave me the prescription I needed. It was important to my health and well-being that I was able to be an advocate for myself.

I now have a lovely doctor who listens to me and trusts me and doesn’t push unnecessary procedures on to me. When she suggests something to me, she asks me what my intuition is telling me! How very refreshing! She doesn’t assume that she knows what’s best for me, so we work as a team to support my health.

I love that she has my best interest at heart, rather than focusing on her bottom line. But too many doctors make the bottom line more important than your health and well-being and will give you drugs and tests and procedures that make them money but could make you sick. So it’s very important to be educated regarding what you need for your health and learn to advocate for yourself with your doctor.

In the past, before the medical conglomerates, doctors took their time with their patients, but now, if they are part of a conglomerate, they are often rushed to see as many patients as they can, so they don’t have the time to listen to you. I’m sure many of you had the experience of feeling like a number instead of a person. I hope you take the time to find a doctor who will listen to you and who cares about your health and well-being.

The father of medicine, Hippocrates, said, “Let thy food be thy medicine, and thy medicine by thy food.” Yet many medical schools teach nothing about nutrition.

If you want to be able to be your own advocate medically, then you need to educate yourself regarding what creates health. I read everything I can about health and nutrition, and I generally know more than the doctor. A few years ago, when looking for a new doctor, I saw a lovely doctor who was training in functional medicine, which is the newer branch of medicine that treats the whole body, rather than one doctor for your heart, another for your brain, another for allergies, and so on. We are not machines that can be taken apart. We function as a whole and each part affects all other parts, so separating out the organs doesn’t make sense at all. Anyway, as I spoke with this new doctor, she realized that I knew more than her about nutrition due to all the research I’ve done over very many years, and she started to pick my brain! I would have kept her as my doctor, but she moved away and I had to keep looking, but I loved that she wasn’t arrogant and respected what I know.

Being your own advocate means that you need to have the courage to trust yourself and speak up for yourself. This isn’t always easy.

Being a loving advocate for yourself – for your inner child – can mean many different things. It starts with loving self-care, but what does loving self-care really mean?     

Our wounded self and our loving adult have totally different concepts of what self-care really means.

The wounded self might say, “I’m taking loving care of myself:

  • When I reward myself with chocolate cake after a really hard day.”

  • When I withdraw and feel justifiably angry when someone makes unreasonable demands on me.”

  • When I get really angry when someone is being disrespectful to me or not doing what they said they would do.”

  • When I tell someone my feelings when he or she has hurt or upset me to make them responsible for my feelings.”

  • When I chill out and reduce my stress with a few glasses of wine or other alcohol.”

  • When I reward myself after a stressful week by buying new clothes or new toys, even when I can’t afford them.”

  • When I like to stay up late to watch a favorite show, even if I’m really tired the next day.”

  • When I listen to others complain because I want to be a good person and not hurt their feelings, even when I feel drained by them.”

The loving adult sees these situations completely differently. The loving adult might say, “I’m taking loving care of myself:

  • When I do Inner Bonding and give myself the love I really need rather than pacifying my inner child with chocolate cake. I care about my health, so I don’t often indulge in eating things that do not contribute to my health and wellbeing.”

  • When I speak up on my own behalf – on behalf of my inner child – when someone makes unreasonable demands on me, stating a clear limit regarding how I expect to be treated. I disengage from the conflict without anger if the person continues to treat me with disrespect.”

  • When I acknowledge, embrace, and release my loneliness in the face of others’ disrespectful or resistant behavior. I accept my helplessness over others’ behavior rather than get angry in an attempt to control them. With the help of my higher power, I then decide how to be a loving advocate for my inner child if another continues to treat me badly.”

  • When I do Inner Bonding when I am hurt or upset by another’s behavior, to discover what I am telling myself that is hurting or upsetting me. When I am open and clear, I may approach the other with an intent to learn about the good reasons for his or her behavior.”

  • When I do Inner Bonding when I am stressed, to discover what I am telling my inner child that is stressing me out. I may occasionally consume some substances, such as wine, for the pleasure of it or the social enjoyment of it, but not addictively to avoid responsibility for my feelings.”

  • When I occasionally buy new clothes or toys for the pleasure of it, but not as an addictive way out of stress. I do not buy things when it would put me into financial distress.”

  • When I get to sleep early enough to make sure that I’m not tired the next day, because my health and wellbeing are really important to me. If I have a favorite show that I don’t want to miss, I record it and see it another time.”

  • When I speak my truth when others are complaining or dumping their negativity onto me, by saying something like, ‘It really doesn’t feel good to have you dump your negativity onto me. I’d be happy to be of help to you if you want help, but I’m not willing to be a dumping ground for your misery.’ If the person does not respect this limit, then I end the conversation or stop spending much time with that person.”

Loving self-care is never about controlling others or avoiding your own feelings. Being a loving advocate for your inner child is about taking the action – guided by spirit – that brings about deep inner peace and joy. It is not a momentary addictive action, but an action that truly takes care of your physical, emotional, financial, organizational, relational, and spiritual wellbeing.

And this, of course, includes being an advocate with professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, therapists, and other professionals you interact with. It means that you have the courage to trust yourself and your higher guidance rather than give your authority away to anyone.

Often, it’s hard to be a loving adult and be a loving advocate for your inner child, and you don’t always have to do it alone.

When do you find it especially hard to show up for yourself as a loving adult?

Most of the time I can be a loving adult just by deciding to be. But there are times when I find it extremely difficult, and that’s when I need someone to step in and help me. For me, it’s when I’m exhausted due to not having slept well for a number of nights, or when I’m sick – which fortunately is rare for me. At these times, I just can’t get my frequency high enough to connect with my guidance, and without my guidance, I’m lost. I feel like I’m trying to navigate life with a blindfold on.

At times when I’ve had to see a doctor, I often take Erika with me. She has a medical background and if I’m not feeling great, she will advocate for me, just as I did for her when she was in the hospital with a stroke. For those of you who don’t know Dr. Erika Chopich, she is the co-creator of Inner Bonding and my best friend. She had a stroke in April, 2022, and the doctor in the hospital yelled at her the day after the stroke, telling her she had to be in rehab for 4 months and have a feeding tube for 6 months or she would die. We both knew that wasn’t true and we got her out of that hospital that day and took her to another hospital. She was home in 4 days, eating very soon after that, and back training horses in two weeks. The doctor knew nothing concerning what we know about healing, and I’m so glad we trusted ourselves and advocated for Erika.

Another time I find it hard to be a loving adult and advocate for myself is when I’ve had to take medication, like a few years ago when I had a very bad cough and I had to lead an Intensive. It’s interesting that I can always connect with my guidance for others, as I did at the Intensive, but drugs, even cough medicine, make it hard for me to connect with my guidance for myself. This is one reason I take such good care of myself physically – I hate the feeling of the lowered frequency that medication gives me, and the resulting disconnection from my source of love and wisdom.

In the past, before I was adept at Inner Bonding and before I knew how to be lovingly present for my grief, loneliness, helplessness, and heartbreak, I would protect against these feelings with my various addictions. My addictions to sugar, anger, judgment, staying in my head, blame, and caretaking, would lower my frequency, so there was no way I could be a loving adult while I was intent on avoiding my core painful feelings.

Of course, then I would feel anxious, shamed, or depressed, which would further lower my frequency, creating a feeling of being stuck. It’s only when I decided that I wanted 100% responsibility for my feelings that I could stop behaving in ways that kept lowering my frequency.

It’s important to understand that there are also times when others are unable to be in their loving adult. Being seriously ill is one of those times. We cannot expect a seriously ill person to be able to be a loving adult. This is when we need to step in and be the loving advocate for them.

Sometimes, for any number of reasons, someone needs to go on medication. Not everyone is as strongly affected by meds as I am, but many are, without realizing it. Medications can cause severe anxiety, panic, depression, rage, or paranoia, making it impossible to connect with the love and truth of spirit. When someone you are close to has to be on medications and is severely affected by them, it can be very challenging for you to remain compassionate toward them, especially if they attack you. The challenge here is to remain compassionate toward yourself and them, so that you can be a loving advocate for yourself and for them.

We are all human, which means that there are times when we are triggered into our wounded selves, and we may get stuck there. With a consistent Inner Bonding practice, most of the time we can rapidly reconnect with our guidance and be a loving advocate for ourselves, but when we can’t, it’s vitally important to reach out for the help we need.

One of the most important places to be a loving advocate for ourselves is in our relationships – especially our primary relationship. Our health and well-being are intricately tied to our level of self-care – not just physical self-care, but the self-care required to alleviate stress. In fact, not advocating for ourselves can cause so much stress as to cause life-threatening illness.

Many of the people I’ve worked with who have serious illness are both men and women who are caretakers – giving themselves up to their partner to control how their partner feels about them and treats them. The stress they experience in abandoning themselves rather than advocating for themselves so erodes their immune system that they cannot fight off serious illnesses. Stress destroys the balance in the gut – the microbiome – which is the major seat of our immune system.

My client, Jack, 60 years old, had for years been in a very difficult, codependent marriage with Stella – a marriage where he completely gave himself up in his attempts to avoid Stella’s anger, threats, and blame. Jack never advocated for himself with Stella as a way to avoid her rage.

Jack sought my help regarding extricating himself from this very unhappy relationship and was finally able to end the marriage. Subsequently, Jack sent me the following email:

“I thought you might be interested in a health change I have noticed. In my last year of marriage to Stella I started having pressure in my chest when I started exercising. I went to several cardiologists. I felt the first one was an alarmist. He wanted to do an angiogram immediately and he wanted permission to do angioplasty at the same time if necessary. I told him that I would get back to him. I immediately went on a better exercise program and took additional supplements for my heart. Over a period of several months, I visited three other cardiologists. A very well-respected cardiologist had the great idea of doing another stress test on me. When he finished the stress test, he said he did not see any reason to do anything different than what I was doing. The pressure I was feeling was still there at the start of exercise, but it would go away as I continued to exercise.

“Recently, I made my last support payment to Stella. I have not felt any pressure in my chest since then at the start of exercising or any other time. I actually feel an upward shift in my energy level. I know that stress has a lot to do with health and with the last payment I must have released a lot of stress.”

Jack had done a great job advocating for himself with the doctor, but he never did with Stella, which is what was causing the stress that was causing the pressure in his chest.

Current research indicates that stress may well be behind at least 90% of illness, and much stress is caused by not advocating for ourselves. 

If stress is the underlying cause of 90% of illness, it is very important to open to learning about our stress, and about what is causing it.

If Jack had realized earlier that his heart pressure was stress-related, he might have been able to go inside and discover what was really causing the stress. On the surface, it appeared to be his fear of Stella’s anger and the fact that he still owed her money. But if Jack were to look deeper, he might discover some false beliefs that were actually causing the stress – beliefs such as:

  • I am responsible for Stella’s anger and unhappy feelings.

    The truth is we cause our own wounded feelings with our thoughts. Therefore, we cannot be responsible for another’s wounded feelings, such as anger.
  • Or, it is not fair that I have to continue to pay Stella money.

    Jack made choices that led to this outcome. He is responsible for the choices he made.
  • Or, it is my fault that things did not work out with Stella.

    Jack is responsible for his choices, but not for Stella’s. Thinking something is all our fault is a way of convincing ourselves that we have more control than we actually have over others’ choices, and a way to get us off the hook from advocating for ourselves.
  • Or, I will not be able to make enough money to take care of myself.

    Jack does well financially, but often stresses over money anyway.
  • Or, as long as I owe Stella money, she will be able to control me.

    Due to his trying to control how others feel about him through trying to please them, Jack frequently gives his power away to others and then fears being controlled by them. This is the opposite of being a loving advocate for himself.
  • Or, I have to give myself up to Stella to control how she feels about me and how she treats me.

    Jack caused himself stress by trying to control something that he has no control over.

There is a good possibility that if Jack had explored his beliefs and come into truth with himself, his stress would have decreased long ago. Much of his stress was being caused by trying to control something that he had no control over, rather than controlling what he can, which is his own intent and actions. He had control over whether to give himself up or advocate for himself.  

All of us can learn from Jack’s experience. We all have the opportunity to practice Inner Bonding, continue to monitor our stress, and continue to look at the false beliefs and resulting behavior that are the primary underlying causes of stress.

Take some time right now to think about where are you not being a loving advocate for yourself in your life, and what stress is this causing you. Is it with a parent, a sibling, a young or adult child, your partner, a boss or co-worker, a therapist, a doctor, a teacher, an attorney? You might want to explore what you are afraid of in advocating for yourself, and is the stress you experience worse than what you are afraid of?

I spent 25 years of my 30 year marriage not advocating for myself and the result was I become very seriously ill. I finally started to advocate for myself after spirit brought us Inner Bonding and I learned that I had been abandoning myself instead of loving myself. For me, becoming a loving advocate for myself was a matter of life and death, and in order to do so, I had to be willing to lose my marriage rather than continue to lose myself. But I know that if I hadn’t had the courage to advocate for myself with my husband, my children, and my parents, I wouldn’t be alive today, and I wouldn’t have the wonderful life I have today.

I encourage to do the inner work you need to do to become a loving advocate for yourself.

I hope you join me for my 30-Day at-home Course to learn or deepen your Inner Bonding practice: “Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships.”

You can learn so much about loving yourself and creating loving relationships from my recent books:

And we have much to offer you at our website at

I’m sending you my love and my blessings.

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