I have written before about the magic of only saying ‘yes’ to others’ requests from a place of genuine joy and giving. Here’s the post if you missed it. What I haven’t yet talked about is the importance of making those requests in the first place.
I was reminded of how important this is just the other day whilst staying with a friend Alex. When I got up in the morning, she was still in bed and requested that I make her a cup of tea and bring it in to her. And she was even more specific than that in her request; “a cup of English Breakfast tea with a squeeze of lemon”. Not a big deal. Just something that was meaningful to her at the time.
Straight away, I realised that I’d never had anyone bring me a cup of tea in bed before and I noticed some sadness. I shared this with Alex… and she gently asked, ‘Have you ever asked?’
And no, of course I hadn’t!!!
Alex asking for this cup of tea was beautiful for a number of reasons. Most importantly because when she asked for a cup of tea made a certain way, and I was able to say ‘yes’, she was letting me know something precious about her – that she really loves having tea brought
into her in bed of a morning… and that she likes to have it a certain way (with lemon!). She has shown me how I can bring her something she likes. Now that I know this, I can easily contribute this to her from a place of joy and genuine care. And if ever I do not want to do it from this place, I can just as easily say ‘no’.
So often, we, as humans, forget to make requests of others (perhaps because we are scared of receiving a ‘no’) and mistakenly assume that they must just know what we want.
And instead of just asking, we “hope” that someone will intuit our needs.
When I look back on my life, there have been countless times when I have wanted something but never asked and big surprise….I never got them! Without letting someone know what it is we want, we do not allow them to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and we break down the natural cycle of giving and receiving.
Furthermore, if we do ask, we are sometimes afraid of asking for exactly what it is we want. We don’t want to appear too demanding, so we soften our requests and ask for less than what we actually really want. If hadn’t known that my friend wanted English Breakfast tea with a squeeze of lemon, I might’ve brought her tea, but almost certainly not exactly the way she wanted it – and as a result, she wouldn’t have been as satisfied.
And she wouldn’t be “known” in the same way. Some intimacy would have been missed.
If you’ve ever received exactly what it is you really wanted, then you’ll know how deeply satisfying it feels to have someone hear your request and offer it gladly.
For me, this is just another reminder of the power of making requests and that it’s a real gift to both the giver and receiver. It’s also a reminder for me to start making more requests and hopefully, it is for you too.
So to that end, I now have a request of you. If you resonate with these messages, please forward them to a friend or family member who you feel would benefit. I love what I do and feel powerfully that the messages of NVC can make a big difference in the world. If that is something you can joyfully say ‘yes’ to, then I thank you in advance for your support. And if it’s not, then that is perfectly fine too.