The Most Intimate Thing We Can Do: Asking for What We Want


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Asking for what we want is possibly the most intimate and romantic thing we can do.

Yet, we don't want to do that, do we?

We would actually prefer that the other person just knows what we need and want.

But that means that then I am responsible for knowing what the other person wants and needs. Ugh.

I don't know about you, but personally, I'm not even that great of a gift-giver when it's expected let alone understanding someone's day-to-day needs.

Most of us weren't gifted psychic abilities. Expecting someone to just know means they would also have to have all the same experiences as you, the same teachings, the same way of thinking. It's truly impossible.

In fact, it's co-dependent.

You have to know what I want magically and I have to know what you want and when one of us messes up the whole structure crumbles.

It's so much easier when my partner asks for what they want directly and clearly. In fact, I see it as an act of love.

Cause the truth is, I want to serve others, I just want to do it in a way I know will be helpful not more of a mess they have to deal with.

That used to happen often with my husband. I would be upset and he would go into fix-it mode. The problem is he didn't really know what I wanted so he ended up doing a lot of things that didn't really help.

He would end up frustrated because he spent a lot of energy and I still wasn't happy and I would feel frustrated because then I would feel obligated to be grateful for fixes I never asked for or wanted.

We have a deal now that he doesn't fix my mood unless I specifically ask for something. It saves us both a lot of frustration and obligation.

This took some time though.

You see I didn't want to have to ask for anything either.

For me, it goes back to my family life as a child. Not only were we poor financially but my parents were poor in energy from working hard to keep a roof over our heads. For me to ask for things felt shameful -- like I was needing too much. So I learned to be independent and did things for myself.

It was hard for me to ask for what I wanted. Even with an understanding and supportive partner. It felt vulnerable and scary.

Here are some tips I would suggest if that feels like you:

1. Be honest.

If it's hard to ask, just say so. They are more likely to be more compassionate if you share your vulnerability about it.

2. Be direct.

I am the queen of passive-aggressive. Instead of saying something like "Can you put your dishes in the sink?", years ago I would have said something like, "I guess that plate is waiting for me to put it away." Let me tell you how much this doesn't work. While they may put their plate away, it's indirectly bringing in icky feelings. Shame is not a motivator for change. Be clear and direct about what you want.

3. Know that you may not get what you want.

They may not be able to give it or not want to. It's probably less about you and more about them. Let it be that and take it as information.

Even if you don't get what you want, be proud of yourself for asking. The no will also give us some information or give us a place to negotiate, or really sit with if we need what we think we do.

When my husband can tell me exactly what he needs and I don't have to guess, it is a ton of relief. It feels easier and less stressful than me guessing.

And if you see your partner stressed or you are feeling like jumping in to fix it, instead of doing, first ask: How can I best support you right now? You might be surprised to hear it's a lot simpler than you are thinking.


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