Asking Anxiety

A friend once told me, “Every problem is a communication problem.” I’ve been testing that ever since, and it’s proving to be true.

In a moment of resentment this morning for a list of to-do’s I’m not all that excited about doing, I realized I haven’t asked for what I want from the other people involved. But it’s obvious! my angry mind says, though clearly it’s not or I would have already gotten the input I need. Do you think they are mind readers? my more compassionate self counters. Well… no, my cranky self concedes.

And now I have that little gurgle of anxiety in my belly, that tightening in the torso, as I anticipate asking for what I want. Why does this feel like confrontation? It’s just asking… What is it about asserting my needs and wishes that I am so uncomfortable with?

Intellectually, I know I must ask. I know the situation will very likely improve if/when I do. But my heart is fearful of how asking might change these relationships for the worse, rather than the better.

At AssistU, we were trained to establish and maintain high standards in our practices and our lives – which meant knowing what we wanted, clearly communicating that to others, and sticking to it when asked to negotiate or tempted to compromise. I learned that standards keep me in right relationship with everyone and everything in my life. I know this stuff. So why the fear?

Habit. Old, worn-out belief systems. Lack of practice. And most significantly, a reluctance to examine whether “for the worse” is really true… if ceasing to compromise, even if it means ceasing relationships, isn’t actually “for the better.”

* * * * * * * * * *

Do you have standards by which you do business? Is it easy to stand for them? or do you often find yourself compromising? What has happened in your business relationships when you’ve asked for what you need and want?


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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



© 2008 Cairene MacDonald, Third Hand Works. All Rights Reserved.

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