Asking The Question:
What Do You Need & When Are You Gonna Say It?

Thursday, November 10, 2016

This year, I'm signed up for Laura Jane Williams' #AskTheQuestion, which she describes as "'non-advice' on writing your own answers for a bullshit-free life." Once a week for 12 weeks, you get a story, an interview, and a question in your inbox, which will make you examine your own life.

Three days ago, on a sleepy Monday morning, sitting wrapped in a blanket, sipping my coffee, I read the first of 12 and have been thinking about it since:

What do you need and when are you gonna say it?

One email in and I already loved it. It felt like someone put a spotlight on me and called me out – in a good way. And Laura told me to blog about it, so here I am.

The second part of the question is what hit me the most. That's where my focus is. My needs are changing constantly, but when the heck am I gonna say something about them?

What I love most about this is that it's when we're going to SAY it. Not ask for it, say it. "I need X, so you've gotta do Y" is how Laura put it.

I thought back on times I've done this, about various things.

I need some alone time, so you've gotta let me do my own thing tonight.
I need advice, so you've gotta be 100 percent honest.
I need to get this off my chest, so you've gotta listen with an open mind.
I need to save money, so you've gotta go out to lunch without me.
I need to feel important, so you've gotta make some time for me.

It can be awkward, and it doesn't always go over well, but it's still a good thing to do. For many of us, our instinct is probably not to be as direct about what we need or what we're thinking because it can come off as confrontational or argumentative. But if you ask me, it's important to be straightforward. It's gotta be done if you want to be happy, you know?

You have to take charge of your own happiness and well-being, and you can only do that by directly stating what you need. Otherwise, you can't complain if you don't get it, because you haven't TRIED to get it. That might sound selfish, but, as Laura pointed out in her email, you're allowed to need something, and you're allowed to express that need out loud. I'm proud of myself for voicing it when necessary.

In thinking about this question for a few days, I also realized that it's not always about what you need from other people. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, it's about what you need out of life. (Like these things.) And only you can get yourself that. In saying, "You've gotta Y," sometimes we're talking to ourselves. The action is ours to carry out.

Do you need a new job? Need to move? Need more money?
Well then you've gotta start applying, start planning, start saving.

You, you, you. It all starts with you, before anyone else. Remember that.

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