Honoring Your Needs!

Do you honor your needs in your relationships? Meaning, do you ask the other person for what you want from him/her?

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.

Ineffective Communication:

– 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

Effective Communication:

– 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


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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

  • saving those points to my computer, thank you 🙂

  • Thanks

    Good one!  Thanks.

  • Glad you both enjoyed this! 

  • Emte

    My fear in asking for what I need is not only rejection and abandonment, but humiliation and shame … learned experiences from childhood.  Because I have that fear, I find I attract that response to me too often.  I need a way to prepare myself with a frame of self care and inner response mechanisms when met with rejection and humiliation when asking for what I need.  

    •  Emte-
      Your insight is great and will lead to the shift you seek. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated and give that same love and unconditional acceptance to others (not necessarily the people you feel are humiliating you but other relationships) and see what shifts. You are on the right path…keep going! <3

  • Damascus Girl

    This is interesting.  I’ve never had a real relationship but I’ve looked to my immediate family members for warmth, caring etc.  That is, my parents and siblings.  It does not seem that they are willing to provide that.  I am now in my 40s.  I have in the past asked them why such support is not forthcoming but they just ignore me, other than my mom.  Even my dad has just looked at me and said, “but you should just take care of yourself.”   My parents are elderly – in their 70s and 80s, so I don’t expect any revolutions in their behaviour, and my mom will not be around forever as she is in poor health.  My brothers simply don’t give a darn, to put it bluntly.

    So, sometimes asking does not reap benefits but delivers a cold, hard reality.  I wonder where I will find emotional empathy, someone who cares and is willing to ask “how are you”, as I move into my late 40s and 50s.  I feel really really alone.

    •  Part of what your describing is not so much a lack of asking but continuing to ask the same people for what they seem to be unable or unwilling to give to you. This is where self love comes in. YOU have to treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others. Treat yourself with love and kindness and believe that regardless of the family system you came from that it is possible for you to draw warm, affectionate relationships into your life. We are here rooting you on! Don’t give up please-it is never too late to create a life you love <3

      • Damascus Girl

        Thank you so much for your powerful reply.

        But I can’t find “replacement parents” or “replacement siblings” as I move into my middle years.

        I believe I am a loving and respectful person and that I deserve same in return.
        But sometimes, being alone with that knowledge just isn’t enough.  We need to be supported by other loving people in our lives. 

        But yes, treating myself well is important and I will try to focus more on that rather than seeking love and caring from other people! 


  • Hey Terri! Love your tip, so true, WE have not, becuase WE have not and it is NOT what you say it is how you say what you say!! Keep up the great work and eveyone have a blessed & safe day……

    •  Towanda-
      Thank you for your kind words-keep up the good work tooooooo <3

  • Hey Terri! Love your tip, so true, WE have not, becuase WE have not and it is NOT what you say it is how you say what you say!! Keep up the great work and eveyone have a blessed & safe day……

  • Wonderful post, Terri!  I needed to hear this TODAY!  <3

    •  Kelley-
      I am so happy this post came at the right and perfect moment for you <3