By Lori Hanson
It’s a simple thing – really. But how many of us ask for what we want or share our expectations with others on a daily basis? Sure, if you go into Starbucks for a double frap espresso something or other you know how to ask for what you want. But, what about the important stuff? Sometimes it’s difficult to spit it out!
I remember as a young girl around 8 or 9 years old being asked to go into a store and purchase a grocery item for my mother. When I couldn’t find what I was supposed to get I froze with the thought of having to ask someone where it was! I was so incredibly shy as a kid. Okay, so that has changed over the years! Now I’ll ask if I can’t find something within the first minute as I don’t want to waste my time looking all over the store for something.
In certain relationships, those we work with, our parents, our significant other, or even our kids it’s more difficult to be honest and ask for what we really want. Sometimes it may just be that we need patience and understanding as we go through a difficult time in life. Other times we may need someone to really get in our corner even though they don’t agree with us and be a loyal supporter or friend. Maybe it’s just letting your significant other know that you’d like more help in the kitchen after dinner, more help with the kids or help buying groceries. For men maybe it’s a need to not get blasted with dialogue the minute you walk in the door. So you need to ask for a little chill time when you get home.
At work this is sometimes tough as there are often politics in play. I know for me personally navigating the corporate politics was something I didn’t do well! I don’t like playing games even for the sake of “x”. Nevertheless, it’s important to let others know what YOU need to do your job, be more effective and meet that deliverable.
If you are someone who suffers from anorexia, bulimia or other eating disorders, like I did, you probably aren’t good at expressing your wants and desires. But it’s an important step in empowerment.
Regardless of the need or want. It’s important to speak up (in a polite way) and tell that someone what it is you need, today that will make a difference. Try a softening statement such as, “I’m confused, I thought we had agreed to do “x”m or Maybe I misunderstood, but I thought you said (or we agreed) you were going to do this yesterday and it still isn’t done. Did I miss something?
Defining boundaries and asking for what we need are important to healthy self-esteem and building confidence. Start with small things and work up to larger issues. Don’t let other people “assume” you are doing fine when you aren’t. Don’t let your date assume you’re fine with an activity or something they did if you aren’t.
As a child I was taught to be seen and not heard and my midwestern upbringing encouraged me to always be politically correct. To not upset other people or say things I might regret. As an adult it’s sometimes difficult to find the boundary on where that advice is valuable and where it isn’t serving you.
So ask for what you want! And don’t forget to reciprocate…ask what you can do to help someone else. You might just make their day and have a new BFF!
For more information on improving self-esteem go here now.