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:
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?