Ask for What You Need With Confidence
In a recent blog, I stated that you need to nurture yourself in order to be of value to others. In order to do that, you need the confidence to ask for what you want.
A friend I will call Karen was a giving person. She was always taking care of other people’s needs. She entered the helping professions to help others make positive changes in their lives. Yet in her life, she was not meeting her own needs. At first, she was okay with this because, when she was growing up, she had been told, “You should always put other people’s needs ahead of yours.” Following this early advice that was so firmly imprinted, she eventually became tired and resentful.
In her training, Karen took a class on burnout in the helping professions where she heard the analogy from our last blog about putting the oxygen mask on yourself first. When the facilitator asked Karen what she would do when the oxygen masks dropped, she replied as most others would: “Of course, I would put it on my children first because I would be willing to die for them.”
Take care of yourself…
The facilitator asked if she would be willing to live for them. “I do live for them,” she replied. Karen had not yet learned the principle that in order to help others, you first need to take care of yourself. She was unable to ask for what she needed and wanted because she believed that to do so was selfish.
When you let people know what your needs are, you offer them the opportunity to choose to help you or not. People seldom know what you need unless you ask for it.
How can you acquire the confidence to ask for what you need or want?
- First, you need to know what you want. That comes as you develop a vision and a plan for your life.
- Next, you need to believe that you deserve what you are asking for. If you are willing to put forward honest effort (or have already done so), then you deserve it.
- Finally, you need to believe that the person you are asking is willing and capable of providing you with what you need. Meeting your own needs requires balancing the courage to ask for what you need with consideration for other people’s needs. If you constantly ask without being willing to give something in return, you are likely to lose even those people who would otherwise be willing to support you.