Women, just like men, have so much to learn. We go throughout life modeling what our parents and teachers showed us to do as little girls. As young women, we try to stick within the lines and do good. We make the effort to be polite and say the right things, like: please, sorry and thank you. As we grow older, we carry some of those early lessons with us, but modern age also forces us to “toughen up” because it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. The hard blows throughout life have a way of showing us that looking out for oneself, is vital.

As women venture adulthood, it’s crucial that we also embark on a journey of self-love and respect. To do this, women must learn three difficult, but brutally honest life lessons. I share these with you because I too had to learn them the hard way, over and over again.

1) If you never ask, the answer is always NO.

Whether it’s asking for a promotion you crave or deserve or for what you want in a relationship, always ask.

Sure, the answer can very well be “no” or “not now” but how much worse would be it if the thought of “what if?” festered in your mind for years?

Don’t allow yourself to live on “what if” island. It’s lonely, boring, sad and no one ever replies back. Know that if you don’t face your fears and speak up, the world will never give you what you want – because it simply won’t know it!

2) The most significant person in your life is YOU.

As we age, we’ll soon learn that our parents and loved ones may not always be there with us till the very end. This is a difficult but necessary pill to swallow. If we look to the past, we know that we came here alone, and more than likely, we’ll go to the next place, whatever that may be, alone too.

In between the beginning and the end, there will be a period of time in this life that we must learn to make our very own. What we do with it, is up to US. Will you live out your life’s biggest dreams or will you go along with their plan. Will you follow your heart, or will you continue to be “his version of success”? Will you decide to fill your empty cup… or theirs?

The choices we make are meant to guide us on the path that is only cut out perfectly just for us. No one can lead you down your true path, but yourself. No matter how much influence you receive externally, the answers to your soul’s purpose will always live within. Quieting the chatter will be tricky, but once you do, it will catapult you into living the divine life that overflows your empty cup, not theirs. It’s the fulfilling, vibrant, juicy life, meant just for you!

3) If the problems persist, it’s not THEM, it’s YOU.

I find this topic most common in the women I coach as I hear them start with, “I have a problematic relationship.” As I look back, most of my screwed up past relationships were just that, because I lacked the self-respect to put my foot down early enough and say “NO”. Please take this in fully with an open heart because I’m pouring myself out here with only the hard, honest truth: What you allow will continue: Every. single. damn. time. It’s true.

Tolerating poor behavior from others is not their problem, it’s yours! Now, before you start explaining all the “reasons” why this might ever be okay – please take just a moment and acknowledge your part. No relationship is 100% one person’s doing or undoing. There are two people involved and each person is responsible for their part. For things to change, you must change. Having a pity party by crying, whining and venting to your girlfriend’s won’t make it all better. Wake up and realize that you are strong and capable of creating a life and relationship you deserve and it starts with speaking up for yourself.

Have firm boundaries and don’t let others cross them. You teach others how to treat you by the way you treat yourself. Love that brilliant woman in the mirror. She needs you to be brave. She deserves a healthy, happy and successful life and only YOU can give it to her. Having a solid, healthy relationship is wonderful and always takes equal effort from two WHOLE human beings. Come to the relationship fully with all your beautiful thoughts, ideas and feelings proudly intact. Know what feels good and if something doesn’t, speak up and voice it. Sometimes speaking up is all it takes to shake up the other person and inform them what you are okay with and especially what you aren’t comfortable with. When in doubt, regardless of the fear or anxiety that may come along for the ride, SPEAK UP. No one else in this entire world can do it for you, but yourself. Expression is beautiful and it’s what makes you who you are. Protect your life from everything that doesn’t serve you and advocate for yourself because your loved ones won’t always be there to do it for you.

Consider the last thing you really wanted and deserved. Did you speak up? Did you voice your opinion? If you haven’t, I hope reading this will give you the boost you needed.

Don’t forget – you are worthy of an incredible life. Now go get it!