Do you ever find yourself frustrated with the people around you? Do you feel as though you don’t get the respect you deserve? Do you feel as though people constantly talk over you and never give you the chance to speak?
If you’re sick of not getting the results you expect when interacting with others, then stick around! Today’s discussion is going to cover the all-important subject of asking for what you really want.
When we experience different frustrations in multiple areas of our lives—and constantly question the way people treat us—then the problem we need to address is probably closer to home than we imagine.
Now, don’t take this the wrong way—the problem isn’t you! The problem is, however, attached to your behaviors and habits. You see, the problem is niceness.
Let me give you an example: recently, a client in my mastermind group was expressing this sort of multi-faceted frustration with people in every area of her life. She was frustrated with coworkers because they didn’t respect her enough or take her seriously; she was frustrated with her husband because he wasn’t listening to her; she was frustrated with her friends because they weren’t responding to her the way she expected during personal interactions.
These frustrations were affecting her life so significantly that she had even become resentful of the people in her life who she was supposed to love and cherish the most.
Unfortunately, that resentment was aimed at the wrong target. What was really affecting those relationships wasn’t rudeness on the part of everyone else—it was her own failure to ask for what she really wanted.
Think about it: she’s expecting certain behaviors from all of these people in her life, and she’s even measuring them up against this imaginary rubric of acceptable behaviors . . . but she’s not getting the results she wants because they aren’t mind readers.
They can’t possibly know what she expects (wants) unless she tells them.
When we are faced with the choice between telling people what we want and letting them go about their business without regard to our needs, we almost choose the latter.
Why is that? Because we’re scared of offending them. We’re scared of coming across as “not nice.”
Take the example we’ve been working with so far. Just think of all the things she could calmly say during any one of these unsatisfactory interactions:
- I see you’ve got something you want to add, but let me just finish this thought first.
- I feel as though you’re interrupting me a lot—I’d like to share this idea.
- When you look at your phone while I’m talking to you, it makes me feel ignored.
- It seems that you’re having difficulty allowing me to share my feelings right now.
We have all of these opportunities in life to say exactly what we need to say to get what we want, but we don’t take them because we’re too scared of the consequences.
And we’re not alone! This fear is so universal that I’ve even written a book, called Not Nice, to address it and help people learn to remove their blocks and fears pertaining to this issue. Not Nice is a phenomenal resource for helping you through those blocks, but if you want to see actual results, you’re going to need to take the concepts you’ve learned and really apply them.
Assertiveness is a muscle—if you want it to function properly, you have got to exercise it.
Not only do you need to start taking bold, authentic action by saying what you want in life, but you need to do it over and over again until the inner critic in your mind stops questioning it.
There is nothing wrong with making your expectations clear!
There was a time in my life when I proofread and rewrote emails a million times before sending them because I was so worried about making sure the wording wasn’t offensive or aggressive. I’d question myself over and over, making it difficult for me to get anything done (thereby affecting the expectations that others had of me!). It was almost impossible for me to make good things happen in my life or form effective relationships.
Now, when I have something to say, I just say it. If it reads as aggressive in an email situation, where meaning can be misinterpreted, then I might include a disclaimer not to read it that way . . . but for the most part, I have learned to just go with the flow and inform the people around me of what I need from them to make our relationship successful.
When you learn to let all of that go, you will discover that things seem to go your way more frequently. Interactions will be smoother, projects will be easier to complete, and your relationships will provide infinitely more joy for you.
It all starts with simply saying what you want. Don’t worry about it being messy at first—that’s all part of the process and learning curve. Eventually, you will find your way and craft your own unique style.
Life isn’t always about getting exactly what you want—but it IS about going for what you want.
Even if you happen to find that this tactic doesn’t work out for you every single time, you will see that simply making your wishes and intentions known has a way of removing all of that excess resentment and frustration. It places you in a position of power, as opposed to helplessness. And as you continue to learn and grow with this work, you will only continue to activate and build up that sense of personal power.
Please let me know how this technique is working for you by sharing your experiences in the comments below! Where can you stand to make your wants and needs clearer to the people in your life? How did they react? What challenges do you face in saying what you want? I also always appreciate the tough questions you have that might inspire future videos, so don’t hold back—there is no subject too personal for us to discuss and no personal development skill too difficult to learn!
Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.