SPEAK UP WOMAN!

How to get your needs met.

So many of us believe in several lies that keep us from speaking up and getting our needs met. 

Some of those lies are:

–              If they really love me, they’ll know what I need and I shouldn’t have to ask.

–              I don’t want to be selfish, and if I speak up it will look like I’m whining.

–              If it’s God’s will, my needs will just supernaturally be met and I don’t have to do anything.

–              I’m just being weak.  No one likes a weak person, so I’ll keep my mouth shut.

Frankly, all of those are crap.  Even the universe tells us it’s all crap.  If a flower doesn’t get water or sun, what happens to it?  It dries up and dies.   Of course, the flower can’t speak and tell anyone exactly what it needs, but the way it grows and how bountiful it becomes is the evidence of what it receives and its needs being met.  Women, if we don’t learn to ask for what we need the right way, even if we think keeping quiet is okay – it’s not.  Our ability to function slowly disappears and from the inside, we begin drying up.  Before we know it, we have nothing left to give.  We are not the mothers we intend to be, the wives our husbands desire, the friend our friends rely on, or the employee we have worked so hard to be.  Keeping silent slowly dries us out.

The first lie that is most common for many of us is that if they love us, they’ll know what we need and we shouldn’t have to ask.  Ladies, let’s be fair.  How many people in OUR lives do we really truly know how to meet their needs without their saying anything?  How much time in a day do we have to pay attention to everyone in our world and pick up on silent signals to meet other’s needs?  If we had to meet other’s needs by paying attention to their silent requests, it would be yet another full time job aside from the usual three full time roles that we play in a single day.  It’s just not going to happen.

It’s like sitting down with a teenager who says, “I’m fine,” and you absolutely know they aren’t fine but it’s going to take some serious prodding to get it out of them.  You know something is wrong by their behavior but because they aren’t matured yet, it’s a time consuming task to figure it out.  Well, frankly, when we fall prey to the lie that if others truly loved us and knew us, they would know what we need – is like acting like a teenager.

The truth is …. if you love THEM you owe it to your relationships to speak up and get your needs met because it’s just too damn hard for the people in your life to have to figure you out all the time.  How much smoother would your relationships run if you have the courage to say what you needed?

What happened to us, as women, somewhere along the way that we lost the self confidence to speak up about what we need?  When did we decide that our needs were not important?  Where did we learn, at some point in our lives, that acting out by isolating, pouting, projecting our anger, and taking out our unmet expectations on the people that we love … were healthy ways of getting our needs met?

Why do we spend so much time fighting our innate human needs by justifying our silence with excuses like, “Well, if I tell my husband what I really need he’ll think I’m weak.  Even if I do tell him and he listens to me, it’s not like anything will change.”  Or with our friends, “I don’t want to be a burden,” and with our bosses, “I don’t want to get fired.”

Yet, ladies, here’s the truth … by not asking for what we need we are sabotaging our relationships.  We really are.  We are walking in the half-truth of who we are and not giving 100% because we don’t HAVE IT TO GIVE!  If we want to be strong women, we need to be assertive to what our needs are – because we cannot, absolutely cannot, meet all of our needs ourselves all of the time.  It’s just not the way it works.

Being strong means taking care of ourselves, taking pride in what we bring to our relationships, and believing that we have value in all things that we do.

Let’s clarify though … asking for your needs to be met doesn’t sound like this:

“You don’t help me around the house and you spend more time with your buddies than you do me and I’m sick and tired of it!”  It doesn’t sound like, “I’ve worked for this company for ten years and I demand a raise!”  And it doesn’t sound like, “All we ever do is talk about your problems and just once I want to talk about me!”

Knowing that you are a worthy woman whose needs are important is the first step to self-awareness and better relationships, but knowing then how to address those needs with others in a productive way is the second step.

Getting your needs met is not making demands, undermining the people in your life by making them feel guilty, or putting your needs above others at any given time.

What it does sound like is this:

“I am feeling like I would really love to get some help around the house so that you and I could have a little more time to spend together.”

Always start your conversation with “I” and not “you” – and state the need and the benefit.  Why?  Because getting our needs met always results in a better relationship – it is typically never a need that is solely going to just make YOU feel better, but be a pathway to better relationships.

Now, does asking to have your needs met mean that you will always get the response you desire?  No.  Your spouse, significant other, friend, co-worker or boss may out-right tell you that there is no way they can give you what you need.  But, what you’ve done by asking is FREE YOURSELF from the silent demise of feeling taken advantage of, less than, and un-worthy.

You have spoken up and put your needs out there, and if they aren’t able to meet those needs that allows you then to take your next grand step.

You have a decision to make.  Do you compromise?

Maybe your spouse refuses to give up time in the garage or with buddies, but he would be willing to do a date night with you once a week.  Maybe he’s not very good at giving you verbal recognition or praise for all that you do, but he’s willing to take the kids once a week for you to have a girl’s night out.

Speaking up about your needs doesn’t always mean you’re going to get exactly what you want, but it opens the conversation to a mutual benefit for all.  You may even discover, in the conversation, that YOU aren’t meeting their needs!  Maybe your spouse says, “Well, I don’t feel like you appreciate me either.”  Whoa … that’s a big one.  Perhaps neither of you are meeting eachother’s needs and that is why nothing is being given on either side.

Compromise is a big one in these conversations.

Once the need is expressed, understanding can take place.  Issues can be worked through.  And Ultimately, you are going to free yourself from the deadly silence you’ve kept and be able to function wholly again.

So many women go to jobs that they are miserable in and we whine and we complain and we harbor ill feelings about our boss’s for not promoting us or meeting our silent needs.  But I can’t count how many times I’ve heard from other women who actually stood up for themselves, went into their boss and told him or her how they felt only to discover … all the hard work they THOUGHT they were doing wasn’t at all in fact the direction their boss had been wanting them to go.  It would usually turn out that there were issues that they weren’t even aware of that were easily fixed so that a path to promotion was possible.

And finally, the ultimate truth … what we give to others, we receive back from them.

Speaking up for what you need is crucial, but as you evaluate what needs you have that are not being met, have the courage and the audacity within yourself to really look at what you are giving.  If you desire for your spouse to be more engaged and loving, are you really truly creating those opportunities for him to do so?  Are your friendships feeling shallow, and you desire closer relationships?  If you desire these things, be the one to give them first.  Be more vulnerable, and in being pro-active and actively changing the ebb and flow of your relationships will result in the influx of blessing back to you.

Sometimes, asking for what we need means giving it first.  If we’ve given and have nothing left to give, it is time to Speak Out.  When we Speak Out, we create opportunities for closer relationships, or, we create opportunities for us to move on and discover better situations for ourselves.

We speak to the sun and to the rain and we open ourselves to be fed from grace.  We refuse to wither up.  We claim our beauty and our value – and we are purposeful in our radical relationships.

Speak Out.  It’s not being needy … it’s being relevant and real.