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What’s so hard about asking for what you want or need?

self-care self-love Jun 10, 2022

Imagine this scenario: you're overwhelmed, the to-do list is a mile high and you wish someone would come to you and say “how can I help”? 

But you don't really say anything. You just keep it to yourself, sometimes seething, sometimes saying it doesn’t really matter, or it’s easier and quicker to do it yourself. And you stuff your feelings. Or blow up and say things you don’t really mean. 

You might hear yourself say sarcastically, "it would be nice if the people around me (spouse, kids, coworkers) would just pitch in and help."

Can you relate?

Asking for help and support when you need it

Do you even know what kind of help you need? 

There are tons of people, especially women, who aren’t asking for what they want or need. 

Let’s see if you can relate. 

  • When was the last time you wanted something but you didn’t ask for it? 
  • How many times a day do you ask for help? 
  • Are you trying to do everything on your own? 

Here's the truth: 

People can't read your mind. 

So why don't we ask for help? 

3 reasons:

  1. Pride: we think it will make us look weak
  2. Overwhelmed: we’re too tired & too busy to think of what we need
  3. We don't even know what we want or need...is it emotional support or physical support we’re longing for?  

We’ve all been there. We’ve all needed help and wished someone would see our need and just pitch in. 

Women are particularly prone to not asking for help. We do a lot. We give and give, noticing what needs to be done, and then we just do it. Sometimes that leads to putting ourselves last. 

The people around us can be oblivious, thinking we’ve got everything handled...we probably do but at a big cost.

We can't get help unless we ask for it

In order to receive help, we need to say what we want or need and get specific about it. 

We can’t expect anyone to read our minds.

Only a very small segment of the population can be aware enough to see when someone needs help and be able to make things easier without being prompted. 

Some people think that If others are present, someone else will step in and take the lead.

Sometimes we don't know what we need or want

Are you clear about what you actually want? 

Another aspect of this whole not asking for help comes down to the hard truth that we don’t know what we want. 

Have you ever been around a two-year-old having a meltdown? Parents of toddlers know that the child doesn’t really know what they want. The child can’t yet articulate their desires clearly enough to avoid an emotional meltdown.

The best way to help a toddler through the process of asking for help is to get them talking out loud. The act of talking helps them identify the pieces of the puzzle in their mind, and helps them start to put those pieces together. 

Soon we realize that the toddler girl wants her doll to eat a bowl of pretend cookies while she rides the unicorn.

It's hard to figure out what we want

Nothing much changes as we move into being adults. Sometimes we need to process out loud to figure things out. Our minds can work in loops. We go over and over the things that we don’t like or want but we don’t really know what we DO want. 

The only way to break the loop sometimes is to speak out loud with someone else who can help us process those thoughts.

I see this over and over when I’m working with clients while I’m coaching them. It’s so common to know that you don’t like the direction your life is going in but not know exactly what you DO want. 

It takes time to figure out what we want.  

That’s where having someone you trust, who’s on your side, wants the best for you, and is skillful (like a life coach) who can really help you get to what it is that you really want. 

The first steps of coaching go like this: We dream. We talk about what the person really loves. We explore their values and the things that are important to them. So that they can begin to see what they really want.

More often, I see that people do know on some deeper level what they desire but they can’t give themselves permission to have it or ask for it. Or they don't believe they can have it. 

This was true for me. I knew on a deep level I wanted to travel the world and make money while I was doing it. But I thought it wasn’t possible and I thought I couldn’t have my dreams. But I did. Go here to read about how I made my dream a reality. 

How to start asking for what you want or need

Ask for help. Be direct. You don’t have to be forceful, demanding, or rude. Just be direct. “I need help cooking dinner. Could you take over making dinner a few nights or would you be willing to go grocery shopping? 

Or, I don’t know what I need right now but I’m overwhelmed and upset. Could you just tell me that everything is going to be alright? 

When you feel overwhelmed, you may just need a hug. Do you need emotional support or do you need physical help?

If you need help, understand that people can’t read your mind. 

They’ll likely be supportive if you know what you need, are prepared for them to help, and you ask them directly for their help.

And know that the deeper you go within yourself and ask yourself what you really want, the clearer you can be with everyone around you so that you can ask for help. 

Life is too short to wait to get what you want. And we really can’t do it all on our own. 

So get help in knowing how to:

  1. Get crystal clear about what you need to have a happy life by working with a coach or therapist (read here about the difference in the two)
  2. Ask for what you want. You deserve support and help. 

Over to you

Take out your journal and work with these questions:

Do I know what I want? 

What makes it hard to ask for what I want? 

What do I do if I don't know what to ask for? 

Working with a life coach can help you answer all of these questions and help you get what you really want. Go here to set up a free 15-minute call with me for coaching. 

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