I find in my practice that many clients, especially women, have difficulty asking for what they want, but have no problem getting royally pissed off when they don’t get it.
Interestingly enough, I hear many of these same people say, “I know I didn’t say anything, but if he really loved me he would just know, right?” Not really. In my opinion, that type of romanticized, infantile love does not really exist between adults. It’s similar to how many times we think a mother must just know what her baby needs when crying, but even then, it is a guessing game. The difference is, as adults, we have the ability to specifically ask for what we would like, whereas a baby does not, yet many of us still don’t do it.
Whether romantic relationships, friends, colleagues or family, the other party does not have a crystal ball or the ability to read your mind. Fear is a motivating factor for not making the simple request or speaking your truth about your desires – fear of being judged for what you want, fear that the other person will say no and you will feel rejected or embarrassed, fear of being perceived as bossy or greedy, etc.
Your level of satisfaction in life is your responsibility, and communicating effectively significantly increases the odds of you actually feeling satisfied.
Once you master the art of honoring your needs by effectively communicating them, the next step is to understand that even when you make your preference known, the other person may not be capable or willing to oblige. But the point is not to always get what you want; the point is to be healthy enough to know what it is and do your best to honor it.
You can start by just making a simple request. Keep it short and to the point, assuming a positive outcome. If you wait until you are so frustrated at not getting what you want that your request sounds more like an angry demand, it will most likely be met with defensive anger rather than cooperation.
I thought it might be helpful to list out some characteristics of effective versus ineffective communication to help you gain some clarity on your style.
This clarity can provide the foundation for changing what is ineffective so you have a better chance of developing a more egalitarian relationship where both parties needs and desires are clearly understood by the other.
- Indirect: not getting to the point; never clearly stating intention
- Passive: timid, reserved
- Antagonistic: angry, aggressive or hostile tone
- Cryptic: underlying message obscured and requires interpretation
- Hidden: true agenda never directly stated
- Non-Verbal: communicated through body language and behaviors rather than words
- One-Way: more talking than listening
- Unresponsive: little interest in the perspective or needs of the other person
- Off-Base: responses and needs of the other person are misunderstood and misinterpreted
- Dishonest: false statements are substituted for true feelings, thoughts and needs
- Direct: to the point; leaving no doubt as to meaning
- Assertive: not afraid to state what is wanted or why
- Congenial: affable and friendly
- Clear: underlying issues are articulately expressed
- Open: no intentionally hidden messages
- Verbal: clear language used to express ideas
- Two-Way: equal amounts of talking and listening
- Responsive: attention paid to the needs and perspective of the other person
- Honest: true feelings, thoughts and needs are stated
Dial into your style of honoring your needs. If you expect other people to read your mind, you might be waiting a long time to get what you want. Why not try something different this week and see what shifts?
I hope you have an amazing week, easily and effortlessly asking for what you need, and, as always, take care of you.
Love Love Love
# # #
Terri Cole, founder and CEO of Live Fearless and Free, is a licensed psychotherapist, transformation coach, and an expert at turning fear into freedom. For almost two decades, Terri has empowered companies, celebrities, professional athletes and individuals to Live Fearless and Free. Recently, Terri released her first CD “Meditation Transformation”. Follow Terri on Twitter @terri_cole