Have you ever wanted to express yourself, your needs, or an idea, but felt paralyzed? You might have been worried about saying the wrong thing, offending people, disappointing others, or feeling exposed.
I think of situations in my past….little things even…when people would ask me where I wanted to go out to eat. I would often feel stuck. I didn’t want to disappoint people. I didn’t want to upset anyone. I wanted to be agreeable…or invisible.
I think of times when I worked as a research chemist at 3M (Renewable Energy Division…woot woot! Glad I left though!), when I wanted extra time off but I didn’t want to disappoint my boss.
I thought I was the only one…then I started talking about this in workshops and with my friends…turns out this is relatively common especially for women!
Why is it so hard to ask for what we need or want?
That answer is a complex weaving of habits, cultural conditioning and our own beliefs about self worth. BUT something my yoga teacher Shannon Paige said frequently that has been extraordinarily helpful—“never be afraid to ask for what you want.”
I go back to Shannon’s quote time and time again when I find myself hesitating to ask for what I need or want. I think it comes down to this: Believing you are worthy of your needs getting met. Your needs are as important as anyone else’s. You need to be the one to create boundaries and be your own best advocate—no one else will do that for you. When you get your needs met, you feel more alive, more nourished, more yourself. From this place is where the magic happens!
How to play with this:
To break the pattern we need to challenge it. I recommend starting with very simple things that have very little downside. Like if you’re going out to eat—if you want to sit in a certain spot…ask for it! Or you don’t want mayo on your sandwich—ask for it! If the room feels too cold, ask to turn the heat up. If you just want your friend to listen and not give advice, ask for it! Then notice how you feel afterwards. Even if the answer is no, often times it feels quite liberating.