THE other day I was looking after Elsie, doing my best as always to make sure she is happy and comfortable, when a question popped into my head.
When do we start to become afraid of asking for our needs to be met?
From the mind-blowing minute she came into the world, Elsie has always been a brilliant communicator, helping me to easily figure out what it is that she needs, right now, this very second.
If she’s bored with playing with a toy, I know about it. If she’s tired, she makes it very clear that it’s time for her to sleep. And if she’s hungry, well, let’s just say I’m pretty sure the whole street knows when she’s ready for some food.
Babies are brilliant at communicating, especially when it comes to their needs. And with very good reason too!
Their urgent cries and non-verbal cues enable us, their parents and carers, to figure out what it is that they need so that we can look after them properly. Unapologetic, bold and generally noisy demands are the very key to their survival in a world where they are pretty much helpless.
As a youngster I was always taught that ‘children should be seen and not heard’. And whilst this did wonders for my manners, it did little in helping me to develop the skills or courage needed when it came to asking for what I wanted or needed in life.
Consequently, over the years I have struggled with finding my ‘ask voice’.
I’ve kept quiet when I should have been asking for a (deserved) pay rise, kept my mouth zipped in meetings and gone along ‘with the flow’ in far too many relationships, even though I knew I was miserable.
Why? Well because I stupidly and mistakenly thought, that to ask for what I wanted in life or from a relationship, was somehow the wrong thing to do. That it was greedy and even worse, selfish.
I could kick myself now, but this is genuinely what I thought. I rarely if ever voiced what I wanted and so in return – surprise, surprise – I never got it!
Thankfully, finding the courage and conviction to ask for something from someone, is now much easier for me. I do have an ‘ask voice’ afterall (!) and I use it often, although probably still not as much as I should.
Now, whenever I look at Elsie or hear one of her urgent cries, I am constantly reminded that it is OK to ask for what you want in life. In fact there are many times that we must ask for our needs to be met, in order for us to be able to survive on this planet happily.
Nobody likes a demanding diva, but our needs or desires are important to us, so it’s perfectly acceptable that we want to address them.
Elsie has reminded me that, in life, if you don’t ask, you – more often than not – don’t get.
It isn’t, as I once wrongly thought, cheeky, demanding or rude to ask for what you would like. But it is always worth remembering to always do it politely.
After all, demanding tears and tantrums only ever really work with babies. ;-)
Till the next time, if you want something, speak up! The world is waiting to hear.
P.S If you’ve missed my previous ‘Lessons from Elsie’ posts, fear not! You can catch up with them all by simply clicking the ‘Lessons from Elsie’ tag below. x