How to ask for what you need

I think we can all agree that we can’t do it all and that attempting to do so causes overwhelm can’t we? Once you have accepted this fact then next comes creating a strategy for creating the life you want. Before you can ask for what you need, however, you need to understand what that is. So in this blog post, I am going to take you through understanding what you need and then how to ask for it – whether it’s in your personal or professional life.

Set your boundaries

The critical thing about boundaries is knowing where you want to set them. With that in mind… what is it that you want? Take a moment and reflect on that question. Write down the first thing that pops into your head. Are you looking to develop yourself? For a quieter life? For balance? Think about where you would compromise and where your bottom line is. When you know what you want and you make up your mind to stick to it then you (and everyone else) will know where you stand.

If you are struggling then think about a situation which is making you feel overwhelmed right now. What would stop the overwhelm? What would make you feel calmer?

Having confidence in your boundaries, knowing they are right for you helps when making decisions. For example, imagine that you need to be able to pick up the kids by 4.30pm three times a week. You need to (re)negotiate your working hours. If your boss asks you to work until 5pm you will need to be firm on your answer. It’s not about being rude but understanding what is possible. You will also need to be prepared to walk away if the negotiation is not suitable for your needs.

Communicating your needs

Have you ever asked for what you wanted before? Maybe you were apologetic e.g. “I’m really sorry but could I ask you …” or perhaps you asked for approval? “Would it be OK if…”

Communicating your needs to someone else can feel hard but it’s so important because in doing so you are making yourself happy. This is opposed to asking someone else to be happy for you as per my examples in the previous paragraph.

The key thing is to remember you have a choice. You don’t have to say yes to something if in fact you would prefer to say no. Or you might choose to say yes but compromise a little. For example, you might have been asked to help out at a local event as a volunteer. If your first instinct is to say no, it’s OK to politely decline; you don’t need to explain further. Maybe though, you want to say yes but you can’t stay for the whole session. You might choose to tell the organiser the times you would be available and leave it up to them or you might give exact times that you can come and then leave it up to them to say yes/no.

Most people don’t set out to take advantage of you, sometimes we allow it by saying yes when we mean no or not being completely clear about our boundaries. This is where we begin to feel resentful, frustrated and of course, overwhelmed.

You deserve to be happy

The fact that everyone deserves to be happy is not up for debate. Of course we deserve it. We might not always feel happy or get our own way but that is a separate issue. It is not our job to question whether or not we deserve something, it is our job to ask for what we want and see what happens.

If you are someone who feels they don’t deserve to receive what they want/need then you are also more likely not to set any boundaries. When I talk to clients about this the feelings often come from wanting to please others. Many of us (me included) will sacrifice what we need/want for the sake of those we love. This has its place but it shouldn’t be the norm.

I challenge you to stop questioning yourself and whether you deserve to receive what you need. I challenge you to accept that you do deserve it and to go ahead and ask for what you need. The results might surprise you.




Leave a comment