Do you believe that your needs and desires are less important than the needs of others? Do you have a hard time asking for what you want? Do you think that asking for what you want is selfish? Thinking it is “selfish” is an old belief that is born out of a lack of respect and love for yourself and others. A lack of self-respect can lead to feelings of unworthiness, or less important than others and cause you to subordinate your own needs and “not ask” for what you want.
There are many reasons we don’t ask for what we want. First, we may not know what we want and if we don’t know what we want, we will never get it. We may fear asking for what we want because we don’t want to appear weak, selfish, self- centered, needy or incompetent. We may not want to inconvenience or bother someone with our needs. We may not think our needs are important or we don’t want to rock the boat, especially if things are going well in a relationship. Can you relate to this?
Like many women, I wasn’t taught how to be assertive and ask for what I wanted. I often used the “silent treatment” or dropped hints and then expected my loved ones to read my mind. I then became resentful when my needs weren’t met. Thankfully, I have learned to be assertive and practice when the opportunity arises. It is not always comfortable and I feel vulnerable asking sometimes, but I do it anyway because I love myself and know my needs are important.
I have shared in past blogs about the book “5 Languages of Love” by Gary Chapman, which I recommend to everybody. It is very helpful in a love relationship to know each other’s love language and to honor that for one another. They are: * Words of Affirmation, *Quality Time Together, *Acts of Service, *Physical Touch, *Gifts.
Thankfully, Larry and I have the same #1 love language and that is Physical Touch. So it is easy for us to show our love for one another through touch. A very close second for me is Gifts. It doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. It can be a card or a flower, something that lets me know I am thought about and loved. I love to send cards and give gifts for no reason at all.
I know, without a doubt, that Larry loves me by the way he treats me and respects me. I could not ask for a better partner and know we are perfectly matched. Many months ago, Larry and I had a conversation about my love language of gifts. He heard me and responded in kind. I was thrilled when I received a card in the mail or when he picked me a flower on his way home. He even bought some cards to have in the house to give me when he wanted to. Because this is not his love language, he forgets that it is important to me. It’s not on his mind, until I bring it up to him.
When I became aware that it had been a while since I received a “gift” from Larry, I was tempted to “drop a hint” about how much I love flowers, instead of being honest with him. I decided to be honest and tell him what my needs were. I have learned that I must HONOR my love language and that it is important to me. I wasn’t going to judge it and tell myself I was selfish or wrong for wanting this from Larry. Certainly, Larry had a choice to hear me or ignore me.
When I brought it up to him, he was defensive at first. He said something like, “look at all the ways I love you already.” He was absolutely right, he does love me in so many beautiful ways and I am so grateful for him for the ways he does love me. I am very grateful that Larry decided to listen to me and the next day I found a card with a poem in it on my pillow. I texted him and said, “You made my day. I just got the card and poem and loved it. Thank you for hearing me.”
WOW! Men and women are so different from one another. I wonder sometimes how we can ever have a lasting relationship because our perspectives are so different.
I think the book “5 Languages of Love” is a wonderful, helpful book with a lot of meaningful information. We have both read it and talked about how important it is to know your partner’s love language and honor it.
Sometimes I lose sight of the fact that one of “Sparkles” love languages is receiving little gifts. I think “Well, it was just her birthday and I bought her a nice gift, we went out to dinner and had a great time, and just returned from a fabulous two week cruise. What about all the ways I show her how much I love her every day?” My perspective is that everything is going along really great and I’m thinking she’s feeling loved and happy because I KNOW I AM!
I was surprised and felt defensive, at first, when she reminded me about her “love language” and that I hadn’t sent her a card or brought her flowers in a long time. Then I thought, ”What fertile ground this is for my “EGO!” My ego would have responded this way if I allowed it to. “What is the matter with you, we’ve done all these things together and have this terrific relationship and you are still not happy? There seems to always be something more that you want from me. Are you ever going to be satisfied? Always about you, boy are you selfish.”
Instead of letting my ego run the show, I realized that she is grateful and appreciates all the gifts and things I do for her every day. She is constantly telling me how much she appreciates me and how happy she is with me in our relationship. I have to remember that one of her love languages is receiving small gifts and that it is meaningful and important to her. My pride and ego doesn’t like to admit that I had neglected her love language, but I had. I forget sometimes because it’s not my love language and not so important to me. Just because it wasn’t important to me, does not make it OK for me to neglect hers. Pat has suggested I write something on the calendar to help remind me each month.
I’m glad Pat made herself vulnerable by asking for what she needed and that she had the courage to bring things like this to the light, so they can be resolved. I want to love her the best way I can. It’s important that we both are honest with one another about what we need in our relationship. It’s the little things that will build up and become big problems if we don’t deal with them. So let us allow love to be the music in our cosmic dance.
Alan Cohen writes in his book, “Wisdom of the Heart” “It isn’t selfish to love yourself. It is the first step to true kindness. Only when you love who and what you are can you love others in the way that they yearn to be cared for. Very few people err by loving themselves too much; most err by loving themselves too little.”
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