I’m prideful about the fact I always ask for what I need. Specifically, clearly and in the moment.
Long day of work & I’m feeling insecure about my writing?
“Tell me I rock & my words are amazing!”
All gussied up for a networking event? Feeling a little awkwardtastic?
“Tell me I look bad-ass and yet still completely like myself.”
Working 24/7 & bringing home the (turkey)bacon in the form of…tiny-bacons?
“Tell me it’s not all about the money. Remind me it’s about the people we help along the way.”
The problem I encounter is my *asking* for what I need may be good, but the circuitous way I go about it is not. I tend to lose people as I ramble. All of this clicked for me recently as I searched for the laundry tag in a piece of clothing. I could keep asking for what I needed in my verbose way—but we all might be better served if I consolidated those needs into fewer words.
Ala this Einstein quote: "If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough."
If I couldnt ‘laundry tag’ my emotional needs perhaps I didn’t understand them well enough yet. Maybe *I* should invest time distilling them down to their basic essence—for me.
And this is what I came up with:
- Lots of laughter
- Being acknowledged & heard
- Alone time to recharge
I won't lie to you. My process was an ugly one. It was challenging to come up with my basic emotional needs in a terse enough fashion to fit on a virtual hang-tag. The struggle, however, forced me to prioritize. I began with something resembling a laundry list & eliminated 'til only three remained.
What did I learn from this exercise?
- I need to be clear and concise—in all facets of my life. This exercise was a reminder if I don't know exactly what I want/need, no one else will either. I can grow frustrated with people not giving me what I emotionally-need, yet I wasn’t capturing my needs in words they could understand.
- Be bold and ballsy. It’s easy with this exercise to think “Well I'd want XXX and I'd put it on my tag—but it’s not happening. I’ll never get it. I’ll just leave it off.” You may be right, but not asking for what you need guarantees you wont receive.
- It’s a mini-vision board. I now visualize my ‘care-tag’ hanging on the inside of clothing I wear (I crazy that way). To this end, I’m consistently sending the world cues as to what I want & need *and* discovered it flows back to me.
- Don’t settle for what’s offered...when you’ve not asked for what you desire! In this exercise we’re focusing on emotional needs, however, the concept is applicable throughout our lives. Sure you may ask and not receive--just do not settle for what’s offered merely because it’s there.
- Read other people’s labels. It’s important to not grow so consumed by identifying our needs we forget others’. In addition, when we are empathic we feel connected. From social media to life off-line I consistently hear women lamenting a lack of feeling connected. (OK so I wanna add that to my label now, too. Feeling connected.)
At 44, this laundry tag exercise has been transforming for me.
I was forced to identify what’s really important emotionally (when eliminating ‘needs’ I weighed two with regards to importance to me, eliminated the lesser and moved on) and found I’d been rambling far more than truly working to have my needs met.
If you created a self-care laundry tag—what would it say?
Is this list something you know immediately or do you, as I did, need to work the ‘process of elimination’ to figure it out?