It is necessary to start asking for change, for respect, to be heard and to be validated.

Skeptical Woman Looking at Man in CafeMany women struggle to break free of their “people pleaser” personality. Women who are “people pleasers” often choose not to voice their thoughts and opinions out of fear of not being liked or fear of confrontation.

I recall my own silence, especially as a young girl, and the pain it caused me. I can truly understand the phrase, “If I only knew then what I know now.” But there is no way that I could have known then what I know now. I had to live through my experiences and deal with the consequences. Only then was I able to move forward.

When girls or women lose their connection to their voice, and the ability to express their wants and needs, their feeling of personal empowerment suffers. A girl or woman who has been silenced has suffered an assault on her spirit.

Perhaps you can remember an instance when your voice was not validated or heard.  How did that make you feel? What effect did that have on your confidence?

When your thoughts and opinions are not validated, you will eventually experience a disconnection between you inner voice and you inner truth, and the messages you communicates to others.  You may begin to shut down emotionally.  You may end up traveling down the road of self-medication, drugs, abusive relationships and emotional problems.

It is necessary to start asking for change, for respect, to be heard and to be validated.  I often share my experiences and lessons learned in hope that some may avoid the seemingly lengthy amount of time it can take to learn how to make good choices.  A girl in one of my “Heathy Relationships” classes told me that she didn’t realize that she could play her part differently. In other words, she didn’t have to put up with any type of mistreatment or bullying. I gave her permission and the tools she needed to stand up for herself. You can and should do the same.

Here are 4 tips to honor and claim your voice:

  1. Create a list of your strengths.  Own them.  Be proud of them.  Don’t wait for others to validate your strengths. Validate yourself.
  2. Do you have a voice in decision making?  You have a right to be a part of this process.  You have to give yourself permission first.
  3. Revisit (reflect upon) a hurtful statement that was made to you.  How would you use your voice now?  What would you say differently?
  4. Take care of yourself (emotionally as well as physically). Too often women put themselves last in this area.

Women need to be conscious about the choices they are making in friendships, romance and life. We are not flowers in a field. We are supposed to be active participants in all areas of our lives.

I recently read a quote by Meg Ryan which stated, “If you empower women, you can change the world.” Many women are beginning to initiate positive change in their relationships.  Ultimately the positive effects will reach men, families and society.

We are in a time of great change in our personal relationships; let the change begin!

Please reach out to me for assistance if you’re ready to learn how to ask for respect and make changes in your life.  You may contact me via email or phone 703-505-2413 to arrange an appointment.

Michelle Kelley

Michelle Kelley Licensed Counselor, Owner, Girls Stand Strong

Licensed counselor and founder of Girls Stand Strong Michelle Kelley, LCSW, helps girls and women of all ages develop and improve their self-image, self-esteem, relationship and communication skills, emotional understanding, coping skills, the ability to handle difficult situations and people, and resiliency to create a brighter, better and more successful tomorrow. For more information about Michelle’s coaching and counseling services, call (703) 505-2413 or email

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I just wanted to say THANK YOU. I left your office so inspired today.
To say Michelle changed our lives would not be an exaggeration. She was very empathetic and non-judgmental... She didn't make our daughter feel badly... She didn't make my husband and myself feel like incompetent parents.
I definitely owe my newfound confidence to Michelle. Without her, I don’t know how I would’ve been able to come out of my horrible situation as such a better version of myself.
People don't understand Michelle doesn’t just offer advice… which they seem to be afraid of hearing. I convey the message that the decisions you make are ultimately your own but Michelle will help you find clarity and sort through emotions.
We felt comfortable knowing that Michelle would be the kind of counselor that would help our daughter see the good in herself, but also question some of her choices and actions.
You have brought back the communication ability that I thought that I lost. You helped her understand what we were feeling and she is such a better person for seeing you.
Michelle, you are so right about [my daughter] and how she thrives off of feelings of accomplishment. All seems to be good now. She amazes me every day with the way she is learning to handle tough situations.
With Michelle’s guidance, I was able to accomplish in approximately 8 months what I hadn’t been able to over the past 15 years.
I am forever grateful for Michelle's help.
Thank you, Michelle, for giving me my voice and a new lease on life.
Retired Arlington County Teacher
She helped me focus my attention toward problem-solving issues.
Laura Clancy, Owner
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Michelle is the best life coach I ever had.
Michelle is an excellent listener and her insights and advice were always right on target.
(mother of a teen girl)
She helped me in so many ways!
Michelle Kelly saved my life. What more can I say?
Stephanie W.

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