It's a vulnerable thing to put yourself out there to get what you want in your relationship. In asking clearly for what you want, you leave yourself open to being rejected, laughed at, shamed, or ignored.
Notice the phrase, you leave yourself open to being rejected . . .
Until you train yourself otherwise, you tend to misinterpret people’s negative responses to your requests as their responses to YOU.
Most of the time they’re not responding to you at all. Maybe it’s not a good time and they don’t have the bandwidth to say yes. Maybe you asked in a way that didn’t feel good.
Here’s the sentence again, written more accurately: In asking clearly for what you want, you open the door to your request being rejected, laughed at, shamed, or ignored.
See how that wording carries less of a sting?
[bctt tweet=" When you accept who you are and that what you want is right, then someone saying yes or no to your request is no longer a referendum on your worth or your right to exist as a desiring person.—Marie-Elizabeth Mali"]
I used to have a very hard time making requests. I believed I should do it all myself and only deserved to have help if I was totally overwhelmed or sick. To help me break this pattern, my partner says, No, ask again, when my request doesn't feel good. If he gets a whiff of justification, resentment, or stress, he has me ask again until the request no longer carries any emotional baggage. Once it's clear, he usually says yes, with pleasure.
Here are three tips to help you work on clarifying your own requests.
Tip #1 To Get What You Want in Your Relationship:
Step 1: With day-to-day stuff, practice making requests with no extra justification or reasoning tacked on.
Do you wait until you’re about to keel over from frustration and exhaustion before you give yourself permission to ask for help?
Do you tend to justify requests with explanations about being too busy, too tired, or not knowing how to do it yourself? This sounds like, I’m too busy to get to the store today, would you pick up some milk on your way home?
Are you afraid the other person won’t want to do it, or won't do it well, so you pile it on your overfilled plate instead?
Simplify your requests so that they come out more like these examples: Please give me that report tomorrow. Please take out the trash after dinner. Would you bring me a cup of lemon ginger tea? Oh! You’re going to my favorite bakery? Would you get me a cupcake?
Step 2: Journal on these questions:
•Is it easy or hard to keep the request to get what you want simple and clear?
•How do you expect your requests to be received?
•What do you habitually add to your requests? This refers to what you typically pad your requests with to try to get a yes.
•Do you save up requests for the big stuff and do all the little stuff yourself? Are you afraid to be too demanding, greedy, or needy? (If so, then make yourself ask for little stuff!)
Tip #2 To Get What You Want in Your Relationship:
Handle your resentment.
Notice if you’re resentful because someone has said no or forgotten to do what you’ve asked for at least 50 times. If so, you’ll need to do some inner work to clear your resentment before you can make a simple and clear request of them.
First, assess if you need to express your resentment directly to the person to clear it. If it’s a fight you’ve had a gazillion times before, this may not be the best choice. You may want to vent instead to an impartial friend to get it off your chest. Then proceed with the next step.
When you're truly ready to shift your resentment, write down 10 things you’re grateful for about the person. Fill yourself with gratitude until it dwarfs your resentment.
Wait to make a simple, clear request to get what you want with nothing extra on it until your heart is full of gratitude. Your request will carry the flavor of gratitude instead of resentment. It will feel much better to the person receiving it. They may even come through this time because the request feels so good!
Tip #3 To Get What You Want in Your Relationship
With your bigger life goals and desires, focus on the qualities you want to experience instead of a specific outcome.
One of my teachers, Reverend Victoria Thomas, once blew my mind when she said, When you pray for a specific outcome, it’s like asking God to work through a straw.
Your conditioning limits your understanding of what will make you happy and what’s right for you. If an outcome you ask for doesn’t show up exactly the way you want, you may miss an even better outcome because you’re still waiting for the outcome you asked for.
This is how you miss everyday grace that shows up in your life. You can’t see the vast support available to you because you’re looking for it to arrive through a tiny straw.
Step 1: What feeling quality do you think having the thing you want will give you? Journal about the main qualities you want to feel, like love, joy, freedom, creativity, power, ease, flow, abundance.
Get clear in your journal about the 3-5 qualities you want to feel most in your life by asking yourself this question about the things that you've set goals around getting.
If you want a soul mate, you likely want to feel unconditional love, connection, ease, joy, fun, and passion. Write down the qualities you want to feel when you’re with your future soul mate instead of begging the universe to send you a person (which reinforces your sense of lack because you don't have them yet).
If you want a rocking business, you're likely wanting to feel overflowing abundance, authentic expression, joy, freedom, connection, and creativity. Write down the qualities you want to feel when you’re rocking your business instead of putting a prayer out for more clients or a dollar amount (which, again, reinforces your current state of not having those things).
Get the picture? Once you have your list of qualities, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Start actively flooding your body with those 1-3 qualities RIGHT NOW.
Sit quietly and remember a specific experience when you felt that quality before. Flood your body with the sensation of that quality that the memory evokes. Put the memory aside and keep flooding your body with that quality. If you've never had the experience of that quality before, then imagine it. Your subconscious doesn't know the difference.
When you're filled with the quality you're focusing on, take one of these questions into your day: "How is ______ showing up in my day?" Or, "How is _______ making itself known to me today?" Or, "How is ________ revealing itself through me and to me?" Pay attention throughout the day to how that quality is revealing itself to you.
Rinse and repeat for the other 1-2 qualities on this list. Pick a quality each day to focus on, noticing how, when you've flooded yourself with it, it shows up to you throughout the day, as if it's being mirrored back to you. Because it is!
Let’s say you want more love in your life. You get clear on love being a quality you want to express and receive. (Part 1) Flood your nervous system with the felt sense of love and carry into your day this question, "How is love showing up in my day?" (whichever wording you like best) Then keep your eyes out for how love shows up in your day. (Part 2)
By flooding your body with the qualities you want, you begin to build new neural pathways to recognize them when they show up in your outer experience.
Your current habitual neural pathways mostly resonate with the qualities of your past wounding. Things like abandonment, poverty, unworthiness, rejection, loneliness, and lack of love. These pathways attract the same emotional experiences to you over and over again.
Those old neural pathways don’t disappear right away. In fact, they're tenacious AF! But as you strengthen the new ones with the practices I’m teaching you in this article, the new pathways start to fire more strongly than the old ones over time and the old ones begin to dissolve.
Eventually, experiences will show up that match the new qualities you’ve been cultivating. This is how your practice of flooding yourself with the qualities and looking for evidence of them all around you creates results. You start to have exactly what you want, whether or not it has shown up in the package you thought you wanted.
It can be challenging to ask for what you want. Depending on your background, feeling like you deserve to ask for and have what you want can be seriously confronting. It can be tricky to catch all the places where your old neural pathways determine what you can and can't have. Having my support as your coach while you create new neural pathways saves you time and error because I quickly catch when you're defaulting to old ways of thinking. With my support, you anchor more quickly into the thoughts that best serve you as you learn to get what you want.
If you’re ready to explore coaching, either in a one-to-one or small group format, I’d love to have a conversation with you. Click the button to schedule a complimentary call with me.
What's your greatest takeaway from this article? Leave a comment below, I'd love to hear from you!
December is relationships month on the blog! If you missed the earlier articles from this month, catch up by reading How To Have a Better Relationship and How To Set Boundaries and you'll be one your way to creating the relationships you want!