Monday, August 8, 2011

What a girl wants, what a girl needs

Somewhere along the way, I figured that I should only ask for things I need, instead of stuff I want. I’m trying to unpack why that is with my therapist, but as I look back on my adult life, that’s mostly true.

For those that know me, you may be wanting to protest otherwise. But the truth is, I can make decisions about almost anything, but I weigh what I want into the mix pretty lightly. If it’s something I need (like air, gas, food, temperature control, etc), I can usually voice my concern. If there’s something I want but I’m paying for it or I’m responsible for it, I can usually figure out what I want and go with it.

But what I want from others, especially if it is at a cost (financially or emotionally) to them? Well, that’s a much different story.

For instance, picking out pieces to play on a board game. If I know that some piece or color is your favorite, I’ll pick that out for you and then I’ll pick amongst the leftovers. If I know you don’t like a certain type of food, I’ll suggest a different restaurant so that you’ll feel more comfortable.

The thing is, I rarely lobby for what I want. If someone else is involved, I don’t have a problem lobbying for them – wants and needs alike.

I sound like a pretty nice person, don’t I? Well, I’m not. At least not to myself.

If I always focus on what I need to do or on my obligations, I rarely feel spoiled. And if I don’t voice what I want, it’s next to impossible for someone to spoil me. If I'm always accomodating others, whether they've asked for it or not, I'm not treating myself like a priority.

And what does that leave me with? Well, 80 extra pounds of fat, for one.

Why? I've chosen, over the last few decades, to spoil myself with food rather than the actual acts of kindness that I truly want.  Mostly by my own doing.

These days, one of the things I’m trying to be VERY conscious of is the question, “What do I want?” And when I can, I’m trying to choose what *I* want.

Here’s a few examples:
Joe received great seats to a baseball game from his employer. But I really don’t like baseball. I’ve tried, and I just don’t like it. Plus, it’s on a Thursday night. And honestly? I’d way rather be watching the newest episode of Project Runway. But he feels like he needs to go, and even though I suggested that he go with another friend, he wants me to go. So I will.

However, I still have choices that night. If I want to eat beforehand so I’m not forced to eat things that I don’t really want, I can do so. If I want to, I get to choose to take a nap before the game because I know it’ll be a late night. When it comes down to it, I get to choose lots of stuff – including my attitude.

Another example is our weekend breakfast routine. Joe wants to eat out for breakfast. He also wants to sleep in and cuddle until noon. And then he wants to take his time getting ready. This means that we typically won’t eat our first meal until 1 or 2. And I usually snack on almost anything to keep me not so hungry that I am crabby, but not so full that I'm full when we eat.

And honestly? That kind of drives me crazy. Because in the whole time we’ve been dating, I’ve never said to him that I like to get up at 8 or 9. I like to have some time to myself to do things that I want to do. So really, who’s fault is it that I’ve been doing what we wants rather than asking for what I want?

Last weekend, we cuddled and then I got up to read a book. Later, while he was bumbling around the apartment, I had a bowl of cereal (gasp!) and he chose to skip breakfast. The world didn’t end, and he didn’t dump me. Go figure. He got to cuddle and I got to eat.

I think that's called peace.

This weekend I got up early, walked to our nearby coffee place, purchased a latte and a Sunday paper. I leisurely read the paper, cut the coupons, and organized them. Hours later when he woke up, we went out to breakfast.

I’m finding that I’m loving recognizing that I have a choice in things. And that it’s perfectly all right to choose stuff that I want or to choose to voice my wants. I can still be contentious about other’s feelings, but I don’t have to always squelch what I want to make others feel loved.

Because really, aren’t we all worth spoiling – even if just a little? And don’t you feel more capable of making it through all the things you HAVE to do when you get to choose things that you WANT from time to time?

Lastly, I’m trying to be conscious of not just what I eat, but how I eat. If I don’t want to rush through a meal, I don’t have to. I can take my full lunch hour. I can not multi-task by talking to friends or family during my dinner. I can CHOOSE to get up earlier so I’m not scarfing down my breakfast while cursing at other drivers.

Realizing that I get a choice in lots of things is pretty empowering, even if it’s still unfamiliar. But like a muscle that gets stronger the more you use it, I’m finding it’s getting a bit easier with time.


sullolaw said...

In the whole world, nobody know exactly what a girl wants, what a girl needs. Girls are very difficult case nobody knows her needs and wants. If you have take much time so maybe you can know about the girl but not completely.Thanks.

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Lily Fluffbottom said...

I just got the title of this post. Lovin' it!

Good for you for getting what you need for yourself.

Also, I'm kind of sad the only other comment appears to be spam.

Geosomin said...

I can relate a lot to what you are saying. It's been a challenge for me to look at what I need VS want and get things I want without feeling guilty or getting frutrated. It's an ongoing thing...

Keep finding what you need and bringing it into your life. Life is far too short to put yourself last :)