As a Therapist one of the most important questions that I ask my clients is ‘What do you want from Therapy?’ Often as we talk they reveal that they struggle to be able to ask for what they want and need from others in their relationships and perhaps from me as their Therapist.
In your life – are you able to say what you need or do you expect people to just know and then get hurt and feel resentment when they don’t deliver?
I really love ice cream, except when it’s banana ice cream. To me all other ice creams that I have ever sampled are sweet and creamy and wonderful, but banana tastes like antibiotic medicine from childhood bouts of tonsillitis!
If I am out on the most perfect date ever (think a sunny afternoon in Paris) and my ever so dashing date (think Jon Hamm) asks me lovingly ‘what ice cream would you like, darling’?, what do I reply? With a desire to look low maintenance, I may say ‘Anything is OK’. When he presents me with a large cone of banana infused dairy, what do I do? I probably eat the ice cream and smile sweetly at him, whilst inside I am wailing! ‘Why he didn’t just instinctively know what I want? He clearly doesn’t care about me and definitely doesn’t love me, we are doomed!’
This might be a trite and fanciful example but it illustrates the way we often work in our relationships. We don’t express what we want and then are SO disappointed at what we end up getting!
The smaller things in life such as the aforementioned ice cream flavours might not be that important to you but what about the things that DO matter to you? What about the things that gnaw away at you, and feel like big things, things that you need in your life to feel happy and secure, are you able to ask for those?
If not, why not?
In my therapy room I see the damage that is done when people are not able to ask others for what they want and need. Clients share many different reasons for not asking; not feeling like they have a right to, wanting to be compliant and not make a fuss or a fear of rejection.
Everyone has known someone who has been ‘in love’ with someone for years but never plucked up the courage to ask them out! That fear of rejection and humiliation of a ‘no’ is so powerful and prevents them from the potential of a fulfilling partnership. It could be argued that for 5 years they have lived as if the answer was indeed, no!
Some people are brought up with the idea that it’s not OK to ask for more in life. Whilst I believe that it’s important to be able to be grateful for what we do have, I also believe that we are created with an inbuilt desire to move forward and improve ourselves and our lives and so to want more. Isn’t it OK to want more from our relationships too?
And of course so far this is all about what we can get for ourselves – but are you someone who is willing to listen to what others want too?
To ask for what you want you first have to identify what it is, which can be hard in itself! Therapy is a great way of pulling away the layers and masks and defining what your true needs and wants are in your life!
I leave you with this quote from Nora Roberts
‘If you don’t go after what you want, you will never have it.
If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
If you don’t step forward, you are always in the same place’
Take care of yourself and others
For more information on therapy, including on line appointments see http://www.tangledthoughtstherapy.com