Man with a mirror

Only You Know Yourself As You Are (so you need to ask for what you need)

Photo by Alex Iby from

“Pretend I asked, now answer the question…”
― Laurell K. Hamilton

This is how we tend to treat our needs, desires and relational exchanges.

Frankly, with a lot of guesswork and a great amount of expectation. There is something nice about someone knowing you so well that they can guess your needs without needing to tell them. Honestly, this sometimes-comforting thought tends to bite me in the butt more than not!

We know ourselves mostly by our thoughts, our inner-monologue.

Others know us mostly by our actions, what they can see of us.

To everyone else, we are mostly a mirror of themselves.

We have a responsibility, in our own lives and in our relationships to firstly know what we’re wanting, and then to communicate it. 

This doesn’t mean we’ll get it, it means it’s been voiced and you’ve released yourself of the possibility of being misunderstood or acknowledged.

To gift ourselves the chance at being heard, and at having our needs met in relationship – intimate, work, friendship – it is up to us to voice what our yearning on the inside is. 

There have been many, many times that I’ve known damn well what I was yearning for inside. The words whirling around, creating an internal storm.

Xander, my partner, sensing there’s something I’m seeking but having no idea what it might be.

Me, not present to the moment at all, avoiding the question, trying to muster the courage to ask for it. Fear of my need being questioned, maybe even not feeling worthy of my ask. 

I have two choices. 

One: I could choose to say something like, “Oh no it’s alright, let’s move on.” Diverting my inner-voice, again, telling it that it’s not worthy. We go on with our day and deep down an inner-resentment builds within myself, and toward Xander. 

Two: I could choose to voice my yearning, with whatever words it spills out in. We then work together to co-understand what I shared and find a way to make sure it is acknowledged and considered. It might not be actioned, may not be reciprocated; but it was valued. 

My path I choose it up to me, one taking a little more courage.

A short reflection, but one I consider important.

We can help ourselves, and our relations co-exist a little more harmoniously if we start to let our inner-lives spill out into the work of relating, by valuing our needs enough to communicate them. We release each other from the onslaught of resentment and frustration, and we may even feel more understood and met.

Is there someone you often choose to silence your desire around? Is there a particular desire or vulnerability in you that you could gift the opportunity of your voice?

What are your thoughts or comments? I’d love to hear what reflections arise for you 😀

Get Free Email Updates!

Join 6,000+ fellow-humans who receive Spaces Between - Al's musings on dis-connection and the philosophy, science and art of re-connecting in our lives, leadership and communities.

Emails sent every 2 weeks. Al respects your time and privacy. You're in control and can unsubscribe at any time.

Also published on Medium.

Subscribe to get Spaces Between - Al's treasured Musings! A thoughtfully-sized, and well-curated dose of science, philosophy, story and art to help you restore meaningful connection in your life, leadership and communities. Every 2 weeks!