If you have low self-esteem, chances are you have a hard time asking for what you want.
You may not feel you deserve attention or that what you are asking for is too much.
You may feel as though you will stand out and do not want to be noticed. You likely have feelings of unworthiness.
Situations in which you have trouble in asking for what you want:
- You may have trouble dealing with other people, especially those you view as authority figures.
- If you have low self-confidence you may prefer to ask others what they want and then help them get it instead of deciding what you want.
- You may be afraid of rejection, fearing that others wonâ€™t like you if you are too demanding or that they wonâ€™t agree with your views.
- As you start to become more confident, you may have hard time thinking about what you want.
- You may be out of touch with your own needs and wants because you have ignored them for so long.
An understanding of your needs begins with knowing the difference between real needs versus wants.
Difference between real needs and wants:
Real needs have to do with the things that are important for your life, such as food and water. Needs may fit into several categories. Not everyoneâ€™s needs are the same and your needs may change at any given time.
Physical needs are those that are necessary to live. Air, food, water, clothing and shelter are all physical needs. Other physical needs are to sleep and rest. You also need exercise.
Emotional needs are also essential to your well-being but may not be as obvious. Emotional needs include the need to love and be loved, companionship, recognition and appreciation. You also need sympathy and compassion, both giving it and receiving it.
Intellectual needs are things that stimulate the mind and thinking. Your need to express your thoughts is an emotional need.
Social needs include the need to interact with others. You also need to have a role in society.
Spiritual needs are those needs that seek to find meaning in your life. These include morals, values and beliefs.
Wants are less vital needs. They are usually things that are not life or death matters but are often things that would be nice or add comfort. If you have low self-confidence you may not feel comfortable asking for what you want.
In fact, you may have a hard time just asking for what you need. Wants are therefore often neglected entirely. You may associate your needs with your wants and neglect them as well.
You ignore your own needs at times. You may think that you are being stoic but in fact you are giving up your important needs because you are afraid of hurting or offending others.
The dividing line between needs and wants varies within each person
- Sometimes you may feel so strongly about something that it increases in importance and becomes a need.
- Other times, even needs may take a back seat to the needs or wants of others. This can happen when you feel that your needs and wants are less important than the needs and wants of others.
- You also may have differing levels of importance between certain needs. You may be needier emotionally than intellectually or vice versa.
- The key thing to remember is that only you can know and judge the level of importance you place on each particular need and want at any specific point in time.
You may have become very skillful at fulfilling other peopleâ€™s needs and wants. You may think that others should be able to tell what you want without you having to tell them. This is simply not true. In order for anyone to get their needs and wants met they need to ask specifically for them.
Ways to overcome fears about asking for what you want:
- Develop assertiveness skills
- If you recognize that you have trouble asking for what you want you should write down, ahead of time, how to ask for it.
- Be as specific as you can.
- Include what you want, when you want it, where you want to get it and who is required to give it to you.
- Write down the specific wording you want to say so that you can practice saying it. At first, try not to ask spontaneously.
You will often forget and leave something out and your need will not be met. Write down your possible responses before you get into the situation.
Ways to ask for what you need:
- You can also write out this same type of request for things you need yourself to do.
- Think of a need or want that you need to do for yourself.
- Write it down just as you would prepare for a conversation with someone else.
Now, ask yourself for this item and give it to yourself. Practicing this exercise will help you become more assertive.
Practice this exercise with family members and friends. Use this technique when you deal with any uncomfortable situation. As you develop more self-confidence you will begin to see a shift in your thoughts. You will start to be able to ask people for what you want.
How to ask for what you want?
- Ask without being demanding.
- You need to strive to be more self-assertive. This differs from aggressive.
- What you want to do is find a happy medium. You should be able to ask for what you want and need, within reason.
What is aggression?
You may have seen someone who comes off as overly demanding and comes off as a bully. They go around making demands and act as though the world owes them something just for being here. That is the aggression.
How to overcome fear from certain people:
Sometimes we have more trouble asking for things from certain people.
- To find out more about yourself, make a list of the people that cause you fear.
- Try to think about why you fear these particular people.
- Think about some ways to get over these fears. One way is to confront the fear head on.
- If you have more trouble with a specific person, choose a want and request it from that person. Remember that it will take some practice to be able to make these requests, so have patience with yourself.
Asking for what you want takes courage. It takes you being able to break through any self-doubts or hesitations, and let your voice be heard. You can start small. It starts with an attitude.
You need to begin to make small adjustments to your thinking patterns so that you feel good about your ideas and are willing to share them with others.
Tips for asking for what you want:
- When you’re on a date or a group outing give your opinion. Instead of just going along with the crowd, try speaking up and stating your preferences. Understand that the group together will decide what to do, so your idea may not be taken. But you’ll feel better for having told everyone.
- Start small and build on your successes. Think of some relatively unimportant things that you can ask for. Practice asking for what you want with others. Prepare your questions ahead of time.
- Be specific when you ask for what you want. If the other person is unsure of what you are asking for you may not get your needs met.
- Use body language to help you. Stand straight and speak clearly. Use good eye contact. Practice asking for your requests in a mirror until you are comfortable.
The more often you ask for what you want and get it, the stronger your self-confidence will be.