Asking for What You Want
Tis the season for gifts and giving and, by that count, receiving. We are well-instructed in the art of giving and somewhat practiced in the grace of receiving but know little about how to ask for what we want.
(Before we can even consider asking for what we want we need to know what we want. That in and of itself is a challenge, because often we talk ourselves out of what we want or we’d rather not want what we want which makes the whole thing confusing.)
But let’s suppose you know what you want and you actually want what you want, why is it still hard to ask for what you want?
Maybe you were raised to believe it’s better not to ask for anything and then you’ll be happy with whatever you get (and also to try not to get too excited about it, as this would limit your disappointment if you don’t get it).
Maybe you were told, ‘do what you have to do, so you can do what you want to do,’ except you got stuck doing what you have to and now you can’t remember what it is you wanted to do.
Maybe what you want is not good for you, or good for the people around you, or good for right now, so you decide to ask for it later - in a few years or decades, when the kids are older and the time is right.
Maybe what you want is just too much to ask for (because you’re too much) and there’s no point in asking because you know the answer will be no. (Which, by the way, doesn’t change the fact that at least you asked for what you wanted, regardless of what the response would be.)
Maybe what you want comes from a longing so deep and a yearning so achy that the thought of not getting it is enough to drive you straight back into ‘I’m fine’ mode. (And you are - you’re totally fine. You can be fine and still be wanting.)
Maybe wanting in and of itself makes you uncomfortable - you already have so much to be thankful for. Wanting more than that what you have seems selfish, greedy and downright ungrateful.
Maybe wanting is an inward call that doesn’t need to be fed by outwardly things and situations. Maybe it indicates a need to be whole within yourself, at which point you wouldn’t feel the wanting because that void would be filled and the ache would be healed.
And maybe wanting is our very life force directing us which way to go to get the very thing we need to thrive. Like a sunflower’s desire to turn its head to the sun, nature’s way of pointing it in the direction of necessary nutrients to flourish and grow. Can you imagine the sunflower talking itself out of that pull? ‘Hey, you’re big enough, stop hogging the sun! Go fix that yearning. You just had sun yesterday, why do you need to go back for more?’ Crazy. But we talk ourselves out of what we want all the time. Using terms like accountability, responsibility, maturity and morality to justify not asking for what we want (these are all great practices, of course, for people who struggle with accountability, responsibility, maturity and morality).
Maybe the season for giving is also the season for asking. For asking ourselves what we want. And then going out and asking the world for it, too.
I’ll start: I want very much for every person who reads this article to forward it to a friend and subscribe to my newsletter if you haven’t yet.