Leadership Love

Ask For What You Want.

I generally want people to figure things out without me telling them. Usually, it’s with men.

If I’m feeling insecure or unlovable, I want nothing more than for him to wrap his arms around me, reassuring me that I’m the greatest love of his life.

But I don’t tell him that.

If something is bothering me, rather than spit it out, I can sometimes clammer around with an obvious weight, waiting to be coaxed with the perfect question.

If staying in to watch a documentary slightly edges out going to see a new action flick, I shrug to say “I could go either way” instead of voicing my bit of preference.

In so many ways, I’m audacious. I’m wiling to say uncomfortable things and give honest feedback. I confront situations where I need to step up.

Except, sometimes I don’t ask for what I want.

Sure, if it’s a sale, I’ll ask for the order. If it’s a business proposition, I have no problem being straightforward.

But when it comes to my personal needs, I can end up taking the back seat.

Because, shouldn’t the other person just get me? Shouldn’t they know what I need? Somehow, I unconsciously administer a test, yet I don’t give them an opportunity to pass it. It’s usually by chance if they do.

My thinking says, “I don’t want to have to TELL you.” And then it switches to me and someone wants something, yet I stand clueless and would have happily obliged.

S/he’s not a mind-reader. But we expect him to know all our idiosyncrasies, inner dialogue, and complexities. We can unknowingly create obnoxious expectations that we fail to let him in on. And worse, we emotionally slap him when he moves “incorrectly”. We treat his actions as if they are malicious instead of what they usually are… Unaware. Sometimes the person that deserves the benefit of the doubt the most, isn’t the one who receives it.

It’s as if being a soulmate or a magically delivered “One” means that our partner will suddenly become psychic… or superhuman… Or both.

Society has raised us to be polite. To say please and thank you before we even know what that means, as our mom whispers commandingly at us.  We don’t want to “impose”; we don’t want help in the store; we’re worried that the person is too “busy”.

And this easily translates into our interactions with people closer into our lives. Our well-trained manners become a guideline for not stepping too far over bounds, or being too forward. Or not asking for what we want.

Why is it frowned upon to ask for affection, attention, or to have your desires met? Instead, we put pressure on another to just “figure it out.” Our fear of being labeled selfish or demanding or inconsiderate has taken us too far in the other direction. And so we silently suffer when we could be reveling.

When someone I care about really wants something, I want to deliver. If someone has a need, I derive joy in fulfilling that. It’s funny how it works in one direction, and yet I forget to give myself the permission to reciprocate the same.

It is when I acknowledge my own worthiness that I remember, it’s ok to ask for what I want… And to receive that.

As I began to apply this authenticity to my own relationships, I found my openness and audacity were rewarded. Without the barrier of holding back, I found I was showing up more fully me. Little problems were resolved in their baby stage, rather than compacting into giant wars.

When my dog wants me to pet him, he roots his little nose and artfully pops my arm up. Sometimes he punctuates it by blowing his nose on my face. And I laugh and joyfully comply.

It’s time to take a lesson from the pup. To indulge our partner in the chance to address our desires and attend to our needs. To experience the joy in being part of another’s enjoyment and fulfillment. To be more free with our wants. Satiation is a gift in both directions.

So, next time you’re acting indifferent but you really want to go out to get sushi for dinner, try this fun experiment… Put it out there. Or if a neck rub would be the most miraculous way to save you from a headache and stressful day… Say what you feel.

Expression isn’t a luxury.

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