Do you ask for what you want?

by Fe Robinson

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​It sounds such a simple question, yet asking for what you want can be a profoundly difficult thing. If it is something you struggle with, it's important to know you are not alone.

Sometimes, there may be a feeling of not deserving the things that you want. If your way of thinking about yourself is that you are not worth anything, or that there is something wrong with you, then the idea of asking for things with an expectation of getting them may feel foreign or even frightening.

Sometimes, patterns of relationships over time may have convinced you that asking for what you want is not OK. 'I want never gets' is a phrase that will not be unfamiliar to many people of a certain age, it was a common retort to children in generations past. When ideas like this are expressed commonly enough, the recipients begin to believe them, and to make them part of their own internal dialogue.  In this way, even once the people who planted the ideas are no longer present, the idea remains, continued on in a person's self talk. Most often this kind of introjected idea flies under the radar of the conscious and is not questionned.

Sometimes, people may just not think to ask for what they want, focused as they are on meeting the needs of those around them. It may be that others may be happy to help, and happy to reciprocate the care they receive from you, but that they don't offer because they don't know you would like support.

Whatever your unique reasons, if you are not currently asking for what you want and can reasonably expect, this is a habit to practice. Saying 'I want...' or 'I would like...' and then calming asking for what you want, saying it as if you mean it and know it is a reasonable request that you anticipate being accommodated. 

Like anything new it can feel uncomfortable to start, but as you do it more, it becomes more normal to you.  As others respond, it can become a self-reinforcing practice.

Of course, we do not always get what we want. That is not however a good reason not to ask. Asking with an open heart is a practice that is good both for us and those close to us.  We are social animals, wired to support each other, and it can reinforce our relationship bonds.

If you find it hard to ask for yourself and want a space to explore this, why not find a psychotherapist and ask for some support? That first request for what you want may lead to a more connected future.

 

To sign up for a monthly digest of mental health self-help material, visit www.ferobinsonpsychotherapy.co.uk/get-in-touch

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