Stand Up For Your Needs In Love
No one can be expected to give give give.
|Kirstie Taylor||Nov 27, 2020||2|
Hi hopeful romantics,
I’m writing this letter in front of my fireplace on Thanksgiving morning. Fun fact about Los Angeles: apartments are more likely to have fireplaces than central AC. What logic was used to decide this? I’m really not sure.
Anyway, this week I wrote a lot on the interweb, but I also watched an excellent documentary; the one on Netflix about Princess Diana’s life, partially narrated by Diana herself.
I’ve never been one for the royal family. I didn’t tune into William’s wedding nor Harry’s. I barely know the names of the people that comprise the Queen’s immediate lineage.
But a friend of mine said the documentary was well-done, and I’m a sucker for a great documentary.
I have to admit: I really enjoyed learning about Diana. It was interesting to see things from her point-of-view. To know that things aren’t as picture-perfect as the palace presents to the public.
My heart went out to her, too. Being in an abusive relationship and struggling with bulimia— both of which I have a history of— made me want to reach through my laptop and hug her.
And while I can’t begin to imagine what the pressures must’ve been like from joining one of the most famous families in the world, Diana suffered from something a lot of us regular, non-royal folks suffer from.
It’s f*cking hard to speak up for our needs.
Diana kept quiet about needing rest even when she was on the verge of fainting. I’ve retreated inward when I felt I was in physical danger. Diana didn’t open up to Prince Charles about her eating disorder or mental health. And same, girl, same (minus the prince part).
Those might seem like extreme examples, but they hold the same theme as situations where you keep quiet when you’re disrespected by your partner. Or the moments you endlessly help people but never take time to rest for yourself.
They’re no different. They’re all the same. It’s a classic case of worrying you’ll be a burden for stating what you need.
But by being a human doormat, you hurt yourself and your partner in the long-run.
You can’t show up as a great boyfriend if you’re mentally exhausted. You won’t be a loving partner if you’re secretly harboring resentment. You can’t be a good girlfriend if you’re not taking care of yourself first.
I know it’s hard, but being active in your life— stating your desires and needs— is the key to forming thriving relationships.
Not to mention, you deserve to look out for yourself. Plain and simple.
“Ask for what you want. Give other people the opportunity to say ‘yes.’ Stop saying ‘no’ for them. “ — Roger Ellerton
Take it from the late Princess Diana herself: from listening to her recounts of her early royal-life, she regrets not speaking up about her needs sooner.
If you’re in the same boat as her and you’re finding it hard to state your needs in your relationship, there’s no better time than now to learn how to ask for what you want, and finally start looking out for yourself.
Set aside alone time to evaluate your needs.
When I took a year off from dating, I did a lot of boundary work. I became clear on my personal needs and what I wanted from a relationship. I even found these were easily applied to other, non-romantic relationships in my life, too.
So take some time by yourself to think about what needs of your aren’t being met.
Do you want more time in your week to be alone and recharge? Do you feel disrespected by your partner? Is your mental health declining, and it’s not something you can handle alone anymore?
Practice responses/conversations beforehand.
Once you know what your needs are, design responses, or practice the conversation you’ll have when the time comes to speak up for yourself.
“I appreciate that you want to hang out, but I can’t tomorrow.”
“When you joke at my expense, it makes me feel disrespected.”
“I’m struggling with my mental health, and I’d appreciate it if you could help me find resources.”
Ask for time to think things over.
If you chronically say “yes” to requests but later regret your initial enthusiasm, know it’s OK to take time to think things over. You can let your partner know that you appreciate them coming to you and that you need time to think.
That way, you can consider if you have time or if you’re spreading yourself thin.
See the value in saying no.
No matter what you think, you have the ability to say no. Your partner doesn’t have the right to monopolize your time and should respect your autonomy.
When you say no, you create for your partner to understand how much you can give while still respect your well-being. Learning the value in saying no could be the change your life needs.
Don’t feel the need to over-explain.
When you do say no, you don’t need to explain every detail why. You don’t need to launch into a monologue of why you’d really love to say yes, but X, Y, and Z are all keeping you from doing so.
Know that with practice, it gets easier.
Speaking up for yourself is going to feel hard. You’re not used to doing so. It’s like exercising a muscle; at first, it’s hard, but over time, you’re doing it with ease.
But remember this is not only for your own good but for your partner, too. Speaking up for yourself doesn’t make you difficult or mean; it makes you authentic.
Because no one can be expected to give all the time.
Not even a princess.
What do you struggle with when it comes to standing up for your needs? Let me know in the comments.
Until next week my lovely readers.
All the love,
Content I Loved:
Articles I Wrote:
*If you're new to this newsletter and my work, I'm currently writing on a book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, that's set to come out early 2021 with Thought Catalog Books.*
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