As a child, I believed in Santa Claus. Every year, my mother would ask me to write a letter to Santa telling him what I wanted for Christmas. On that special day, much to my amazement, I got what I asked for. Little did I know that my parents played a big role in making that magic happen.
As an adult, we still expect that someone will magically know what we want or need. If you believe that, then I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.
It’s time to take off the blinders, and take another look at reality. I remember as a toddler pointing at things to get what I wanted. I was too young to talk and oblivious to social norms – how things happen in life. As I got older, I learned how to talk and began to understand the social norms. No longer could I point at something and expect it to be handed to me. I had to use my words and say something! Otherwise, I would never get what I wanted or needed.
Look… it’s not that our loved ones aren’t in tune with us. It’s just that they can’t know everything about us. I recently discovered a love for anything steampunk. I haven’t told my fiancé this, so would I expect that him to know about it? Nope. The same goes for gifts, assumptions about cleaning the house, anything financial and what happens in the bedroom. If we don’t tell our loved ones about our interests or changes in tastes, then what can we expect? Disappointment and resentment.
If this is sounding a lot like what you’re going through, take a moment and ask yourself why you can’t ask for what you want. Does it affect other relationships? At work, can you ask for a raise? Have you told someone you couldn’t take on the extra work because you’re already overloaded? If not, why? Why can’t you stand up for yourself? Why do you expect others to do it for you?
Discover the Reason(s)
Try this writing exercise to get to the bottom of this issue:
1. When do you ask for what you want? List three to five examples.
2. When don’t you ask for what you want? List three to five examples.
3. Why do you think there is a difference between the two?
Plan the Next Steps
Now try this writing exercise to plan your next steps. This can help you decide the best way to start asking for what you want in specific situations.
1. Do you want to change?
2. What do you want?
3. How are you going to get it?
4. Is your plan realistic?
5. When are you going to start this plan?
At times, I thought I didn’t deserve what I wanted or needed. I thought my needs should come after everyone else’s or that I was being too needy. In reality, asking for what I wanted helped my loved ones get to know me better, and they better understood me as well. The bonds between us grew stronger because they knew I would be more open with them and they could be the same with me.
Stop holding back, and start opening up to your loved ones. Be honest with them and yourself – and you just might get what you want.