Monday, June 1, 2009

Extreme Self-Care: Stating Your Needs

This is the second in a ten part series called, Extreme Self-Care: It’s Not Selfish!

No matter how long or how well someone knows you, even if they can, at times, can finish your sentences, incredibly, you cannot assume they know what you want or what you need. If you want it or if you need it, you are going to have to tell them. With words. Words that come out of your mouth.

We waste a lot of time, get a ton of signals crossed and nurse a lot of unnecessary wounds because we don’t tell people what we need. We expect them to know and then we get upset when they don’t.

The husband doesn’t know how tired you are and how much you just need a little break. Your friend doesn’t know that you are tired of going to the mall every weekend and would like to do something different. Your kid doesn’t know that you would like to spend a weekend without any of her friend’s sleeping over.

Most people aren’t good at picking up clues. They ignore the dramatic sighs or think that that scowl on your face has anything to do with them. The little flip comment you made went straight over their heads. Let me be clear: no one knows what you want unless you tell them. If you need to make an assumption, then assume that they don’t know what you want.

Last week, we talked about setting boundaries, stating your needs is another way of doing that same thing. When stating your needs, do so in a calm and direct manner. “Honey, it would be great if you could give me a little down time so I can transition from work to home. 15 minutes of alone time would be great. I can go into the den and you and the kids can have the rest of the house.” When in doubt, give more detail. Just saying ‘a little bit of downtime’ leaves too much room for erroneous interpretation.

Be direct. Be detailed. Be clear. Don’t wait until you are on the verge of a breakdown to state your needs. Once you start doing this, you will immediately see the benefits. It works at work as well as it does at home. If you need help with a project, ask. You might just get it. If you need clarification or additional time, make your needs known. When you suffer in silence, you suffer.

Even God said, “Ask and you shall receive.” If you don’t think I know what I’m talking about, take it from the Big Guy. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. So start squeaking!

No comments: