Lately I’ve been realizing some of the grown up skills that I need to start working on. One that has been coming up frequently is knowing how to ask for what I want. At 28 I’m finally starting to learn this skill more than just hinting and beating around the bush and hoping the people I am aiming the want at will get the point.
All through school I had been rewarded for being quiet, for not taking up too much space, for knowing the answers and not asking too many questions, for not challenging authority figures. It was reinforced day after day, year after year, that being a good girl, and being quiet and unassuming was great. The meek shall inherit the earth they say. Girls are to be seen and not heard… and even though that’s been changed a bit females are still put down for being heard too frequently.
When I was young I skirted around asking for whatever I wanted. My mom would buckle eventually under hints but my dad just hate it. “Just ask for what you want!” And then he would first say no. I wasn’t bold enough, or maybe my birth order was too high, to ask again. I would cringe when my siblings later would ask for things again and again, testing my father’s patience. But then, guess what, they ended up getting what they wanted. The questions that were met with absolute, fighting, no’s became yeses and I was just sitting back wondering how that could be.
I thought not bugging people was the way to get them to like you, to give you want you want. I thought not going past the no was respectful, and respect was something that seemed really important. But actions were telling me different, and when I started realizing that my habits were already too ingrained and I was too afraid of no. It’s taken me many, many years to get to a point where I am learning how to ask for things. I’m in the baby steps, very beginning phase.
I’m working on this because I’ve learned that most employers won’t give me the most they can afford right off the bat, my friends don’t just know how I want them to treat me, or that I want them to invite me to anything and everything. I’m working on this so I can be a better communicator, a more fulfilled version of me so that I can be better in my relationships. I have learned, sometimes the hard way, that boyfriends are not these magical creatures, kinda like unicorns, that just get me, and know what I want and how to talk to me, comfort me, touch me, kiss me, etc. I have to ask for what I want, and I have to be clear.
So far, with my low risk trials and tribulations in the asking for what I want arena I’ve learned a couple things. Not only is it important to ask for what you want, but I’ve also learned that when you do ask, there are still things that can inhibit getting what you want. They look a little like this:
1) Lack of clarity. When asking the Universe, your parents, employer, significant other, hook up, butcher, for what you want clarity is key!
You are more likely to get a no, or something you don’t want if:
– you don’t exactly know yourself
– you’re not asking in a way the potential giver will understand
– you are afraid to ask for exactly what you want so you beat around the bush, hint or otherwise
2) No push past the first “no” and/or don’t bargain
3) The request/want isn’t framed into a mutually beneficial arrangement(parents, employers, teachers, etc)
Lack of clarity is my biggest challenge currently. My mind is swirling with ideas of what I want and I’m having a hard time focusing on one thing to work and ask the Universe for. Some days it’s a new place to live, others it’s a new job, yet others it’s a car that I don’t have to worry about and that has a way to connect my phone. Some wishes and wants are smaller, and some are larger.
In my exploration of what I want and my challenges with asking I’ve realized that I get a good percent of what I want. When I don’t it’s usually because I’m wishy washy in knowing the specifics. The idea, the question, the request isn’t fully formed.
That’s what I’m going to be working on. Fully forming my wishes, my asks, my questions of the Universe/friends/future lovers/employers etc. Clarity seems to be key. And after that, maybe I’ll get a little braver, and start going past the first no!
What lessons have you learned about asking for what you want?
Topic inspired by: Asking for What You Want.