Don't Complain; Request!
In our busy world today, filled to the brim with the many things that are spreading us thin, we really don’t have time, energy, or space for miscommunication. Unfortunately though, it seems that our rushing around often tends to be a root cause for our miscommunications as it allows little room, if any, for the ability to process our true thoughts, needs, and emotions before responding and reacting to one another. We’ve been swept up in the need to crunch important and often emotional conversations into tight unrealistic time-frames, tend to issues before even having a moment to check in with ourselves about how we feel about them, and try molding our imperfect selves into a perfect (almost computerized) structure. This is a recipe for disaster.
I don’t know about you, but even just reading that first paragraph is enough to make me anxious. What’s worse is that the outcomes of such unhealthy anxiety-provoking approaches aren’t even worth it! The messiness just tends to lead to more mess without getting close to anything productive or efficient. Our lives just become a race from one disaster to the next with no end in sight. With this kind of pent-up negative pressure, it’s no wonder why our wants and needs continue to remain unsatisfied or unmet; for things that are sought with negativity or desperation are likely just to yield more of the same.
For example, I’ve become increasingly aware of how many people in both my professional and personal life (including me) tend to communicate the things we want from our relationships, jobs, health, etc., by complaining about what we don’t want. We are so wrapped up in our stressful routines and burnt out from neglected self-care that we have not only forgotten how to request change, but we seem to have lost hope in even the possibility of change. So why ask for the impossible? Perhaps some of the following will sound familiar:
“I’m so sick of having to do the dishes ALL the time,” “I can’t stand how my boss keeps volunteering me for the night shift,” “We never go anywhere fun and it’s miserable,” “I hate this new diet my health coach suggested,” etc.
Each of these complaints may very well be valid and completely worthy of utmost compassion, but stating what is wrong with a situation very rarely helps to make it right. Seems to be that we feel some sort of obligation to list and convince others of all the reasons why we deserve help without ever actually asking for it! Such communication is inefficient and even more of a waste of the time and energy in our lives that is already critically low.
As you might’ve guessed, a much better approach to getting more of what we want is by actually requesting it! I’m not sure where along the lines we lost this concept or ability, but nevertheless, it is crucial to reinstate it. Rather than complaining about not wanting to do the dishes all the time, how about sitting down with your partner/family and requesting some more help with the housework? Like, “It would really help me out if you can start doing the dishes too, Hun. Would you please chip in more?” You’re perfectly allowed to do the same kind of thing with your boss, like, “Hey Julie, I think I need a pause from working the overnight shifts for a while. Would you get someone else to cover for me?” Even a request for more fun or spontaneity in your relationship would likely be much better welcomed by your partner in comparison to a complaint about how he/she has been failing you in this area. And yes, health professional or not, you are certainly permitted to ask your health coach for a more fitting diet plan.
Not only is the “request” method much more efficient and more successful in obtaining desired results, but it is also a much more respectful and loving way to approach those you care about. People are much more likely to be helpful to you when they are not first subjected to your resentment and negative comments about all the ways they haven’t been before. We have to stop complaining about our unrequested requests and simply, start requesting them!