Asking for What You Want Can be a Revolutionary Act

How old were you when you stopped asking for what you want?

As children, we know how to ask. We see something, desire it and express that.  But somewhere along the way, we often learn the idea that it’s bad.

I was about 5 or 6, and remember asking for something and being met with a response containing a lot of fear about our family’s financial situation.  It was a moment of stress, but as a child I internalised the idea that expressing & filling my desires would mean a lack of safety.

And when we stop asking for what we want, we disconnect from our inner wisdom and desire.

What fills the gap are messages from the dominant systems around us: mostly, white capitalist patriarchy.

Systems made of scarcity, domination and control.  (#dietculture, amirite?).

Systems that call women angry, bossy, controlling, a b&*#! if she becomes too powerful or disrupts the status quo. 

And so as women and femmes, we learn to place our needs and wants second or last, whether through kin-keeping, emotional labour or work. 

And a person guilty or afraid to ask for what they want is not a person standing in their power.

This sometimes gets further coopted into spiritualist-capitalism with messages of ‘leaving it up to the universe’ or ‘it’s a sign’.  These messages have value (I say them myself),  but if we say them without *also* asking & expressing what we want, then we’re outsourcing our power.

In turn, we also stop questioning the system, and asking for the world and community we want:

“We can’t afford that”. “That’s just the way the world is”.  “You can’t have everything you want”.  “You can’t trust any politician”. “They’ll never change”.  “What’s the point of voting? My vote doesn’t mean anything”. “I can’t do anything, I’m one person”. 

The result of all of this is 1) the perpetuation of the status quo (which is slowly killing us and thousands of other species), and 2) feeling resentful, drained and burnt out. 

Because if we can’t ask for what we want in our own lives, we can’t ask for what we want in the world.

Self work is world work. 

Asking for what we want, believing we can have it, creating the conditions for thriving in our own lives, plants seeds that allow us to do this in our wider communities. 

Ask yourself these prompts today:

1. Where & how do I hold myself back from asking for what I want?

2. What messages have I received that taught me that asking for what I want is wrong, bad, or that I’m not worthy?

Laura x 

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