Thursday, January 2, 2014

Have you asked?

Only those who ask for more can get more 
and only those who know there is more, ask. 
Alan Cohen

My mind is like a room with lots of drawers. The drawers hang half open, all askew, with socks and lingerie and scarves exploding onto the floor or sneaking out like snakes slithering away into dark corners. Ideas are much like that, aren't they, as are the things we wish people would guess about us if they would only pay closer attention. They stay hidden for a while, then pop up unbidden (and often unnoticed), and are sometimes forgotten altogether. It isn't any wonder that relationships are so chaotic; how are we supposed to keep up with our own messy drawers much less someone else's? How do we get what we need in life?
Unidentified messy room to protect the innocent

Well, the short answer is that we need to ask.

I'm not a big fan of the New Year's resolutions idea. It has always seemed to be an artificial exercise, most of which is forgotten by March.....or even January 15th in some cases. But, 2013 lived up to its name, at least for me personally, what with that pesky #13 in plain view and all. Not a good vintage.

So, I took some time the other day to consider what to do about it. I could resolve to do all sorts of things (going to the gym more would NOT be one of them) to start off the new year with a more positive outlook. But I don't live in my world alone; there are lots of folks who support (and infringe upon) me.

I ended up with MY LIST OF THINGS I NEED TO BE HAPPIER IN 2014. Not accusatory at all, right? Then I divided my master list into segments by person: what I need from Person A to be  happier, Person B, etc. And, that's as far as I've gotten. (It's only January 2, after all.) I imagine I'll do some editing (to protect the innocent) and then meet with each person to ask for what I need. 

After all, how else are they supposed to know? But I also believe that the ensuing conversations  might be healthy for each relationship. They may even tell us what THEY need from US in the process and soon everybody is happier. Or we can fret and fuss about how we're being treated by Friend C, but never take the honest path to actually share how we feel to that person. What is being accomplished that way? Inevitably, bad things tend to transpire when we hide how we feel and what we think, for fear of rocking the proverbial boat. The boat will sink under its own weight, though, if we don't bail a little of that muddy water with a true heart to heart. They won't know unless we tell them what we need. Then we have to be willing to listen in return.

Of course, one of the segments is reserved for ME. What do I need to do to be happier in the new year? Many adults continue to blame their parents for a difficult childhood; or they blame their teachers for being uncaring; or their siblings for being....well, siblings. But once we hit that threshold of adulthood, we must act like adults and take responsiblity for ourselves. Yes, we need to ask for what we need and want from others, but ultimately it's up to us to take the first step, and then follow through to make the life we want.

We may get more than we ever thought possible. 

And some order just might be brought to those unkempt drawers, too.


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