Ask And You Shall Receive

People helping people.

As a parent, and a woman, it is not uncommon for me to put the needs of others before my own.  I think this is in part, due to the fact that I’ve been taught that it’s selfish to put my needs above someone else’s.  While putting the needs of others before my own is something I often do willingly, there are times when my own needs must come first if I am to be truly happy.

Asking for our needs to be met can sometimes feel confrontational.  We may feel like we have to justify these needs, and it leaves us feeling vulnerable.  We also risk being rejected by the very people we hope will understand that we have an empty space inside that needs filling. We want to continue to please others, but what about pleasing ourselves?

I grew up with the English mindset of keeping a stiff upper lip, and all that.  And we’re all familiar with the phrase, “Keep Calm and Carry On,” – another English phrase, designed by the British Government to remind people to remain calm during the onset of war.  While the need for a morale booster during wartime was likely helpful at the time, I don’t think it applies in this instance.  Yet the notion of not kicking up a fuss lingers on. With the subliminal seduction of such phrases, is it any wonder, we have a hard time asking for our needs to be met?

Time to relax and reflect.

It’s all very well to say, “just do it” — after all, each of us has the right to speak up for ourselves.  Yet, years of believing it’s selfish to think only of what we want, has been a hard teacher.  But consider this: the dictionary defines a need as a physiological or psychological requirement for the well-being of an organism.  That’s pretty powerful, and not some petty concern when if comes to realizing that your needs are important and deserve consideration if you are to thrive.

As a person with a hearing loss, I have learned to ask for what I need, at least in this particular instance.  Too many times, I have been left feeling alone and isolated because I didn’t feel part of the conversation. Necessity made me strong, — and the support of a woman who encouraged me to ask for what I need.  Though my need arose out of necessity, I have found people to be most understanding when I explain that I have a hearing loss.  Interestingly enough, I always include my request with an apology: “I’m sorry, but I have a hearing loss.  Would you mind speaking up?”  I’m not sure why I feel the need to apologize.  Maybe it’s because I’m asking for a need to be met and feel guilty for expecting people to honour my request – am I somehow inconveniencing my fellow human being? That being said, people are quite happy to speak up and make sure they are facing me when they do speak.  I’ve also been pleasantly surprised when people remember to speak up the next time I see them.  There’s a lesson in this.

Perhaps the people in your life would be grateful if you could tell them what you need.  In this way, they won’t have to figure it out for themselves.  How are people going to know, if you don’t say anything?  Gone are the days when it’s considered romantic for the man in your life to read your mind – “If he loves me, he’ll know what I need.”  No, no, no.  It’s time to take responsibility for your own needs.  It really is OK to find your own voice and speak up.  Even if it means that the people in your life might not understand – at least they’ll be no guessing when they see you walk out the door, if that becomes the case.  You will have the satisfaction of knowing that you have been heard.

Helping hands.

It all sounds so simple, doesn’t it.  But I know that sometimes, it’s not.  Sometimes deeper issues are at work when we dare to speak out. Only you will know what is possible for you.  Remember that you can’t change anything until you at least acknowledge that there is something that you need to speak up about.  It is up to you to figure out how you can meet this requirement.  It may mean seeking help or support from some outside force – be it a person or an organization.  If that’s the case, I encourage you to please do it.  Your physiological and psychological self, demand it. I find that, for the most part, people really do want to help. In fact, I think that most people have a deep-seated need to be of service.
So, are your needs being met?

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs:

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