Make Those Requests
Being in the world as your authentic self and living with dignity involves being able to make requests. Being able to ask for what you need is a very valuable tool. Knowing what you want to ask is important. Many people do not realize they do not make requests. If you grew up in a dysfunctional addictive/abusive family, it may not have been safe to make requests. If most of your childhood was about taking care of others, there was no room for requests.
It is important to stop and evaluate how you operate in the world. Do you regularly make requests? If you don’t, ask yourself why not? What does your rule book tell you about asking for things that are important to you?
I don’t deserve to ask for anything.
People who do that are selfish.
Other people should be able to “read my mind” and know what I want.
My religious training taught me only to think of others.
I need to be perfect before I can ask for me.
Another aspect of making requests is to look and see if you live in an environment where requests are tolerated. It is your job to make requests in your love relationship and be with the person who honors most of your requests. Making requests is your way of giving your partner the road map for how to take care of you. One of the signs of a healthy marriage is two people who know how to take care of each other. We are all different. You cannot assume what makes you happy makes your partner happy. How you feel loved is not necessarily how your partner will feel loved.
Once again it is important to assess if it is more difficult to make requests with the opposite sex, with the same sex, fellow employees, friends, parents, or children. What do you notice? Look at your history. Was your family able to make requests in the world? What if someone came to fix something in your home but it still was not right? Did one of your parents pick up the phone and ask the person to come back and fix the broken part again or did they just complain?
Let’s get Going!
Whatever you tell yourself about not being able to make requests, it is time to change your way of being. Spend time thinking about where you need help. Begin to at least register where you might like to make a request even if you can’t do it yet. If you are Super Mom begin to ask for family help for family chores. Our children don’t need to see us as martyrs; they need to be taught many of the chores that make a family run. If you are the man that is always helping others move, fix things; clean up the schoolyard, it is time to ask others for some help.
I have worked with many people who have somehow made it through much of their life without making requests. When a person begins to make requests for the first time, he may be tentative. I remember one person years ago that made a request and when the other person hesitated (probably to figure out how to work things out) the requester withdrew the request. Watch your body when you make a request. Stand tall and with confidence and dignity. Ask and let the other person answer. Start with an easy request, can I have my water without ice and move on to the more challenging ones e.g. a raise, a well-behaving boyfriend/girlfriend.
© 2014 Anne Brown. Permission needed for reproduction in any form.