Wants vs. Needs

Asking for what we want is primal. And most of us have been practicing it for many years. As babies, we asked our parents to fill our needs and depending on how well or how receptive they were to them, thats probably how adept we are at asking for what we want today.

Then there’s asking for what we deserve. This is a profoundly different thing because we have to have a clear understanding of what that is, then be able to articulate it with courage, conviction and in a way that the recipient will be able to metabolize. Lots of times, I find myself jumping ahead… Trying to articulate that which I have not fully developed my own thinking around. Someone said to me recently that we often call a person making demands petty… When what they are really being is specific. They have likely applied some rigor to understanding what it is they deserve and can specify what that means to them. That’s the opposite of petty… it’s actually quite substantive and important.

Where I believe I get hung up is right at the beginning–having a clear recognition of what I am deserving of–so any demand seems too big and I caveat them so they are not at all specific and leave room for the other party to be abdicated by my ambiguity. When I do this, I make it impossible to be satisfied thus guaranteeing I will not “get what I deserve,” since only a mind reader could know how to connect these dots due to the lack of specificity.

If I had the patience and courage (yes, it’s hard work sometimes) to do the diligence around that first step–getting the clear understanding–then I can start worrying about how to communicate those findings and uncover the specifics that support my cause.

What’s more interesting is why this is so hard, why it’s such an ordeal for some and not for others (the people some might call “petty,” for example)? It’s worth pondering before my next “big ask” to set aside what I want and seek to identify what I deserve… wherever it is be it at home or at the office. I might be surprised.

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