By Staci Welch-Bartley
One of my clients asked me recently, “Why is it difficult to ask my partner for what I truly want, especially when it comes to our relationship?” This was such a great question, and one that arrives at my mediation door often. I thought I would share with you my answer, and give you a tool to practice with.
Most of us do not believe that it is ok to ask for what we want. Furthermore, we have not been taught HOW to ask for what we want. We make it up as we go along.
Remember back when you were two or three years old? Back then, we never had a problem asking…correction…demanding what it was we wanted. And, if we didn’t get what we wanted by asking, we would throw a huge fit. We knew we were more likely to get it then, especially if mom or dad was on the phone, right?!
The overall message that most of us received from throwing a fit was something like:
- “Stop behaving this way, it is not ok!”
- “You don’t just get everything you want!”
- “You are acting like a spoiled brat!”
Oh and the tone of those messages…when you were two or three years old, it was downright scary!
So instead, we learned and practiced asking for the minimum of what we thought would be given, acceptable, and appropriate from the person we were asking.
How many times did your parents take the time to teach you when such opportunities came up by saying: “Don’t ask like that, ask like this instead, now let’s practice…” (By the way, to the parents and grandparents out there…this really works. Teach and model this information to your kids, and grandkids. We practice these skills with our grandkids. We didn’t know how to teach it to our kids!)
Most of us are still asking from the place of a two or three year old NOW even though we are all grown up. Why don’t we get busy and change some old behavior that no longer serves us?
Not being able to ask for what you want and need at 100% in your relationship is responsible for the majority of your pain and misunderstandings. When you do not speak up, you cannot show up.
To get you started, we have a step-by-step guide to share with you so can begin to practice the art of asking for what you want and reaping all the benefits.
When we allow ourselves to really ask for the life we truly desire, most of the time the outcome becomes unimportant to us. It is in the act of asking that we validate ourselves while sending ourselves the message, “It is ok to be me, want what I want, and need what I need.” Only then can you begin to create deeper intimacy with your partner. Your partner gains an inside view into who you are and what truly makes your heart sing, and you begin to teach your partner how to love you best, as you love yourself most of all!
P.S. Join our private Facebook group to keep the conversation going, and to receive ongoing support and inspiration. Our current conversation in the group is “How to have a difficult conversation.” Come on over, we would love to connect with you!