Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Good advice from Bob Harper

Alright, I admit it.  I watch "The Biggest Loser" on Tuesday nights.  Each season, I swear I'm not going to, but then I get sucked in.

Last night, after a particularly hard work out, Bob Harper (if you don't watch the show, he's one of the trainers) said to the contestants:

"It's not a bad thing to ask for what you want."

I'm not going to lie to you, I hit the rewind button on the DVR to hear it again and then I paused the show to let it sink in.

I struggle with this so often.

I can lobby for someone else.  I can look at a tough situation and find a solution that benefits most.  I can analyze a given problem and come up with an idea that fixes the problem.  Even on a personal level, I can ask for things I need.

But actually ASK for something that I just WANT?


I have a hard time asking someone to help me.  Whether it be with the groceries, cleaning up the house, for a drink of water, quality time, sex or intimacy from a partner, or something else in my relationship with someone.  Putting myself first feels uncomfortable.

When I think about WHY that's an issue for me, I think it's because I was told so often as a kid that I was this bossy thing.  Incorrigible.  Stubborn.  Willful.  As a kid, I didn't mind asking for what I needed or wanted.

And somewhere along the way, I was told/instructed that good girls don't ask for stuff they don't need.  Good girls look out for the needs of others.  I learned that there was pride and honor in silently suffering.  And the message that I received was that I wasn't good enough to ask for what I wanted; in fact, it was rude to do so.  If it happened that I got what I wanted, be thankful.  If it didn't, too bad, so sad, that's just life.  The phrase, "you get what you get and don't throw a fit" comes into mind.  And while I think that's a good thing, somehow I internalized that to apply to EVERYTHING in my life.  Simon and Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock" was my theme song.  Not so healthy.

These days, I'm starting to realize that when I ask for help (or even if I'm just willing to accept help when it's offered) that it's not a sign of weakness.  It's not a sign of neediness or desperation to ask for a hug, for time, for a listening ear, or for another chance. 

And what I'm finding is that when I ask out of an actual want, I feel soothed much more than I would've with food anyway.

I've heard before that when hunger isn't the problem, food isn't the answer.  And I agree.  But what I'm realizing is that when I'm healthy emotionally (with boundaries, in healthy relationships, etc), and I feel heard and understood, I don't think about food as much anyway.

Asking for what I want started with little things.  If someone offered me a blue cup or a red cup, I used to just say "Oh - whichever you don't want."  I started to state my preference.  If someone offered me a chance to go in front of them, I let them - if that's what I wanted.

It's a way to be gentle with myself - a way to tend to myself and be heard by my own true wise self.  

I feel balanced when I pause in a situation and really think about what *I* want and then ask for it in a respectful way.

I still struggle with this; with the idea that my asking for a want is valid...but I recognize that it gets easier every time.

Because each time, I feel love from the person that gives me what I asked for and I feel love from myself because I honored ME.  And feeling loved feels good, soothing, and luxurious.  Way better than a warm brownie or a salty chip has ever made me feel.

Because I'm still a newbie at this, how are ways that you honor your wants?


Misspudding said...

Very good advice.

And I don't know. I don't think I'm there, yet. I struggle with this very issue badly.

balancingval said...

This post sounds like my life!

I recently found that I struggle with the same thing, I posted about listening to a song on the radio and turning it off because other people didnt like it. Your red or blue cup reminded me how far this issue carries into life, even with little things like that.

Im learning that asking for help does not in any way define your worth. People will be willing to help you most times if you just ask or accept and thats ok! Putting yourself first is key to living a happy life and getting what YOU want out of it :)

Meg said...

Oh, man.

My wants are last on the list. I always ask my partner what he wants, or where he wants to go or do or eat. When I want to go into a store if we're shopping, I'll even say, "G, do you want to go to...X?" instead of "I want to go to X". I'm so often frustrated because I don't get what I want, and then I resent him. For not being able to read my mind. I'm crazy.

Whoa. This post has thrown me for a bit of a loop!

Lou said...

Far out - another epiphany moment! Lots of food for thought in this one (I'm still trying to keep up with mindful eating!). Love reading your posts - have nominated you for a Versatile Blogger Award - details on my blog if you need them.

Thanks for sharing!

Rachel said...

Although I still struggle with this completely, I am able to work on this little by little. One of the things that played a part in my weight gain was NOT being able to do this. Until we are able to moved passed this, you will still feel frustrated. I now am able to ASK what I need, like asking my hubby to cook dinner Mon-Tues-Wens. That way I can get to the gym and get my work out in. I don't think of it as being selfish. I think of it as making me better for him. It really IS okay to ask for what you want.

Janell said...

I honor my wants by living alone (with a dog).
That is the best thing for me at this time. I'm not sure I'll ever be equipped to honor someone else's wants so readily. I have to keep my needs in focus.

I realize this doesn't really help you but I decided to answer the question regardless. ;-)

Katy said...

I think it's important that we actually stop and THINK about what it is that we want. I've been getting better with this through counesling. The other day I asked for the mother of all requests (from a man) which was to show me more romance and courting behavior. I'm a sucker for flowers and poetery and just cheesy over the top gestures. It feels strange to ask for MORE love, but it also felt really great. Because let's face it, sometimes you really just need more. Good for you for standing up for what you want. I think women who do this in a respectful non bitch way have such great power...because it's so rare!

Katy said...

Oh and PS...what's wrong with biggest loser huh??? Just own it. It's the best show ever!

Lala said...

Great post! I have that same issue, and I find that it really affects my eating. I am very unaware of my wants and feelings, and I discovered that when I look into a binge, it often happened at either a time when I was really tired, or it happened at a time when I was feeling lonely or sad and unaware that it was how I was feeling. It's tricky stuff this food/emotion connection! I really loved this post!

GeorgiaBE said...

I had to have a big crisis happen in my life to begin putting my wants first…getting sick (when you look healthy) changed my way of thinking forever. It made me realize that I have a voice and I need to use it, not abuse it.

The things that matter, I fight for. I didn’t ask anyone in my household when I took the processed food away. I set up a gym in my garage to make it easier on my family, but when I need to workout, I do it (even if it means paying my oldest to watch the youngest, or telling my husband to feed the kiddos, get them to bed, etc.)

There are times when my wants don’t have to be first, but I let my voice be heard anyway. I don’t always get my way, but I FEEL better knowing I said something. I put it out there, and it’s OK to do so.

KyokoCake said...

I am so uncomfortable speaking up about anything, much less what I want. It’s one thing with my husband, just the two of us, but anyone else I probably won’t ask or do anything. I just think I’m going to look like a needy, bossy person and I don’t do it…but it’s probably made me miss some fabulous opportunities.

...even so I don't know if it's something I am really ready to work towards!