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How to ask for what you want is often about two separate components: communication and self-confidence.
We have to believe we deserve whatever we are asking for, and feel self-confident in making our requests. Many of us tend to deny ourselves the opportunity to ask for what we want because we don’t want to impose, be inconsiderate, be selfish etc. But it is important to encourage ourselves to speak up with confidence in our voices, and feel empowered to treat ourselves to what we deserve. Respect yourself as much as you respect your partner and make sure to consider yourself and your feelings by asking for what you want. Your partner always has the ability to say no (and this is the most important detail to remember)! You cannot remove anyone’s power (nor they yours) without their (or your) allowance.
Another part of asking for what you want is finding comfortable ways to communicate with your partner. Once you believe you deserve to get what you want, you can start working to find your comfortable language to be assertive. Often I make a request while sharing how I feel, so I try to avoid you statements while speaking of how I feel or what I would like and why. I also ask my partner how they would feel if… to find out where they stand about the things I desire. I make sure to listen to their response, and consider what I am willing to fight for, and what I can let go of. I make sure to ask my questions or express my thoughts, and then wait for my partner to discuss their reaction to my request in their own time.
Know you deserve whatever it is you desire and find a comfortable way to ask for it that shares why it is meaningful to you. Sometimes it can be very hard to speak up for ourselves and feel entitled to what we want, but often our partners are happy to take care of us if they understand how to!
Lisa Resnick, MA, EdM, LMHC