Thanks guys for playing with us and sharing your examples with making requests and your issues with saying and hearing ‘no’.
I think we probably can identify with Tess and her picking up her husbands shoes. As she shared
For the first 5 years of our marriage I requested and commanded he pick up his shoes. Of course he didn’t. So I picked them up for him but I griped loudly the entire time.
A few years went by and I no longer griped but I had the victim “attitude.” Yet I kept picking them up.
Then after another few years I noticed one day I was picking up his shoes and did it matter of factly. No longer upset by his not taking care of his shoes.
Then one day I became grateful that I had the opportunity to pick up his shoes and I became grateful that he was in my life.
The bottom line for me concerning the shoes was “Do I want to be happy or right?”
I decided happy!
Tess was getting a ‘no’ from her husband but was not accepting the ‘no’ at all, eventually sinking into “victim attitude”. Eventually she noticed that she was “picking up his shoes and did it matter of factly. No longer upset …”
Tess was now accepting her husband’s ‘no’. Finally, Tess shares that her acceptance had moved to becoming “grateful that he was in my life.”
Tess could have stayed in being “right” mode all her life and continued grappling, failing to hear her husbands ‘no’ as valid and missing out on happiness and the flow of love between them.
I think one important factor about making a request is the tone in which we make the request. I notice that if I ask for something in a nice way or compassionate way, the person usually is very inclined to comply or an agreement is reached that makes everyone happy.
However, if I make the request with any sort of impatience or frustration due to something else, things never go smoothly.
I agree that if we ask from impatience and frustration; the ‘no’ response may not be a no to the request, but a no to the impatient mood. The request doesn’t get a hearing in instances like this, as the ‘no’ is directed at our impatience and not at the request.
If we want our requests to get a fair hearing then it is important how we make the request.
Thanks Angelia for sharing your circumstances:
I have a couple of twenty yr old roommates. This helps with that situation. I’m still learning how they operate in a household, which is different than what I thought.
I’m sure many of us will relate to your situation Angelia, tell us more about how you are getting on, accepting their ‘no’?
Thanks Lisa for your comments and focusing our attention on the issue of our children when you said:
This is what I struggle with overall in our culture with our kids, both at home and how they are treated in schools, because I do think the current practices place an emphasis on obedience above all else, and this contributes to these issues with requests and rights of refusal later on in life…
I completely agree with you and Wilma’s response to you; the confusion started for all of us as children when everything became treated as commands and “an emphasis on obedience above all else”.
We have grown up failing to learn the difference between requests and commands. As a result, requests remain commands-in-disguise as long as we do not respect and lovingly accept both children and adults right to say ‘no’.
This is the second week now that we have mulled over this topic of making requests and the right of refusal. For me, this has been a valuable topic. I’m paying particular attention to my commands to my daughter and my upset at cleaning up after people. Something has been unearthed here that needs to be addressed on my part.
So I’m left wondering, has reading the posts and comments given you a different perspective on this topic?
Have you seen something about yourself that you hadn’t quite seen before when making requests or accepting anothers right of refusal? And if so, what have you done with this new realization and have you taken any action as a result?
Finally a request from me (which you are free to decline) to all our readers who have yet to summon up the courage to comment, I’d love to hear from you on how you are handling requests in your life.