Asking for What You Want: Why is it So Difficult?

Recently, Susie took her mother who has Alzhemier’s disease to the hospital for an out-patient procedure to be done. They had to wait for 3 hours and to pass the time, they watched the nurses go about their duties and the other patients coming and going.

As they laughed and made up stories about the people, Susie noticed an elderly woman being seated in one of the cubicles, waiting her turn to get treated. The woman appeared to be shivering because she only had a short-sleeved shirt on and the temperature in the room was a bit chilly.

When a very kind nurse asked the woman if she wanted a blanket, the woman shook her head with a “no” and said that she had left her jacket with her daughter in the waiting area. They noticed that the woman continued to sit with her arms wrapped around herself, and it appeared that she was very uncomfortable.

Susie couldn’t help thinking that if the woman had only accepted the warm blanket as her mother had done or if she had gone back out to the waiting area to get her jacket, she would have been so much more comfortable as she waited for her turn to have her procedure done.

Although we don’t really know why the woman didn’t choose to either get her jacket or accept the blanket even though she appeared to be very uncomfortable, we do know that it appeared that she was unwilling to ask for what she wanted and even accept help when it was offered to her.

What a relationship lesson this is!

Many people fall into the relationship trap of not asking for help, thinking that they can do it all themselves and not allowing themselves to receive. They may have the belief that by not asking others for help, they are creating great relationships. We think the opposite is true!

Asking for help when you need it and accepting the help of others actually opens the door to connection and intimacy.

Sound strange?

Here’s why we say this…

Nothing quite feels as good as helping other people and being appreciated for the help you give. If you are going through life with the attitude that you can help others but you won’t let down your defenses to allow others to help you, you are denying them the opportunity to feel competent and be of service to you.

Our relationship works so much better when both of us are willing to ask for help when we need it and ask for what we want–when neither one of us either tries to “fix” the other when they haven’t asked or have the attitude that we can do it all by ourselves with no help from the other person.

Here are some suggestions that have worked for us in asking for what we want:

1. First, find out what you want and need and believe that it is possible to ask and receive it. So many people don’t know what they want and even if they do, they don’t believe that anyone will give it to them. You have to believe that it’s possible to receive the help or whatever you want.

2. Ask in such a way that the other person can hear the request. Tell the other person what you are feeling and why this is important to you. Choose a time when the person will listen to you without distractions or ask for that time. Make your request about what you need and why you need it.

3. Give a clear request. Often, people take a round about way to ask for what they want. At our son’s band banquet the other day, we sat across from a couple who were talking about their high school aged son. We heard the boy’s mother tell his father that when their son was talking about a fund-raising event that was going to take place the next week, the boy was really hinting that the father participate with him. She said that the boy seemed to be afraid to ask his father outright.

Asking for what you want is the ONLY way you’ll ever have what you want in any area of your life. We’re suggesting that asking very clearly for what you want will create better relationships and as the saying goes– you’ll never know until you ask.

When you ask for what you want–who knows? You might even get it!


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