I have a confession: I don't know how to ask for what I want.
It's not that I don't know what I want, that part is crystal clear, it's the anxiety around articulating my request to another human that's the problem.
I've often thought it was the Brit in me; the notion of being polite, being humble and above all else being respectful, but I'm starting to think there's more at play beneath the surface.
I remember the phrase 'Little girls should be seen and not heard' growing up and never thinking to question it.
You believe what you're told and form your identity, and place within society, from the messaging you're exposed to and the examples you see. This messaging goes on to become a sort of blueprint, a lens through which you filter every interaction and formulate a set of 'rules' on how you as a person should behave in response.
If you've learnt that you're not worthy of having what you want, consciously or unconsciously, why in the hell would you ever want to ask for it?
This issue might sound trivial to some, but negative beliefs about ourselves can have a ripple effect, not only to our own happiness and progress in life, but can lead to resentment of others, anger, aggression and even lead to bullying.
It's possible to change learned behaviours but it takes work. We have to consciously catch ourselves when we fall into old patterns and replace them with new, desired behaviours. It takes bravely and often we'll find ourselves making progress and then taking two steps back. Like with any skill, the key is to keep practicing if you want to see results.
When I hear my inner voice creeping in to convince me that I shouldn't be asking for what I want, I have to pause, take a breath and think about how much happier I'll feel if I just go for it.
Asking for what you want isn't easy and there's always the fear of rejection or potentially being seen as 'demanding', but taking the leap and actually doing it allows you to feel heard and somehow more in control of your life. I've also learnt that receiving a bit fat 'no' doesn't kill you and so, what have we really got to lose?