How to Speak Up for Yourself (and Others)
There’s a sinking sensation that happens when you’ve been silent in a situation where you wish you’d found the courage to speak up—whether it was standing up to a bully as a kid or keeping mum in a meeting while a peer railroaded an idea you worked on for months.
It seems like it should be easy to speak up, but when we’re faced with power imbalances or struggling to navigate bureaucracy, it can be challenging to summon an inner advocate. This conundrum often comes up in medical settings, where jargon-filled conversations and limited time with doctors can leave you feeling unheard.
Robin McGee experienced this first-hand. In 2008, at 46, she was told her rectal bleeding was likely a reaction to an antibiotic she’d taken months prior for an infection. She wanted to believe her GP, but two years, three other doctors and many medical mistakes later, the clinical psychologist based in Port Williams, N.S., learned she actually had stage 3 colorectal cancer.
McGee’s experience is common for anyone eager to have their needs taken seriously by people in positions of authority. Her persistence meant she received treatment and went into remission for a time. She’s since written a book about the experience and helps advise others who are navigating similar situations. Her tips may be useful if you’re struggling to speak up.