In a recent conversation with a friend, I received some unsolicited advice and it hit me, I finally know what I want.
Three years ago, I would have been so grateful to receive her trusted counsel and advice and not have to rely upon myself to “try” to discern what it is that I wanted.
It was so much easier to trust her and our friendship, which I have counted on time and time again over the past decade. And here’s the thing, that was simply because I trusted her more than I trusted myself.
I hear this from clients all the time… I don’t know what I want.
I just want to make him happy, and then I’ll be happy.
I’ll do whatever you want to do, that’s what I need.
I don’t know what I want to eat for dinner; I’ll have whatever you want.
Actually, I’ll be honest, I’m still guilty of that last one. I remember a couple years ago, my boyfriend and I were taking his best friend out for dinner and I was meeting up with them to head to a restaurant… of my choice. I literally could not decide the type of cuisine I wanted and I was getting so stressed out about it (like anxious and voice rising stressed out about it)…. and all I wanted was for him to decide, so I could just make him happy.
This is a typical place where you’ll find yourself after breaking up with a lifetime practice of pleasing others as access to pleasing yourself.
We think we don’t know what we want.
We think if we make others happy, that that’s enough, that we’re enough.
We even think that our partners should know what we want, and that we shouldn’t have to ask.
These days, sometimes I notice that unsolicited advice makes me bristle a little… that’s not what I want, I think, and then I smile a little on the inside and am so eternally grateful for this work that has me reliably practicing and strengthening that muscle around practicing knowing and asking for what I want in any moment.
So here’s what I want in this moment.
I’ll tell ya what I want, what I really really want….
I want you to know that the key to lasting, committed relationship is through asking for what you want and not presuming or hoping that your partner will know for you.
Asking for what you want requires being willing to ask at the expense of not getting it and still knowing that you’re ok and loved.
I want you to know that you deserve to get your needs met separately from getting them met by pleasing others or putting others first…to know that your needs and wants are important and that they deserve to be heard and honored, first by you, and then by others.
I want you to know that asking for what you want is a muscle to practice. That thinking you don’t actually know what you want is simply a muscle that you haven’t flexed in quite some time, and all it requires is some extra stretching and warming up to start practicing and noticing a change.
I invite you to start practicing today. And every day for the rest of your life. Start small. Start anywhere, but start today.
And I want you to know that you are worthy and so so deserving of asking for what you want and having those desires fulfilled upon.
I’d love to hear from you. What are you taking away from this article? Will you rise to the challenge of asking for what you want today? I look forward to hearing how it goes.
Catherine A. Wood is the Founder and Head Coach of Unbounded Potential, a personal coaching firm dedicated to helping high performance individuals who are committed to making a big impact in the world. She helps them fall in love with themselves first so they can take bolder actions, push past their fears, and get bigger results in the direction of their dreams. A visionary, entrepreneur and world traveler, clients have referred to her as a guardian angel for their dreams. You can learn more about Catherine and what she offers by visiting her Online, on Instagram, on Facebook, or by signing up for her newsletter and grabbing her Unbounded Potential manifesto.