Recently, I had a bad day and my husband asked what he could do to help. My first thought was, “I wish he’d bring me flowers.” But I didn’t say it, because…if he really loves me, he should know what I want, right? WRONG! Mind reading is a myth promoted in romance novels and movies. In real life, we’re likely to get our feelings hurt when we expect someone else to know what we’re feeling or thinking. It’s not realistic to expect anyone else to read our mind.
Unfortunately, women have been led to believe that asking for what they want negates the “love value” of a gift. Somehow the love doesn’t count if we have to tell him what we want versus him thinking of the idea on his own. And yet, sometimes someone DOES figure out the perfect gift and give it to us as a surprise. It feels wonderful to have someone else know us so well that they know what’s in our heart.
A few years ago, just before Christmas, I was browsing through a high-end catalog and saw a bracelet. It was engraved with the words, DAMN I’M GOOD. For some unknown reason, I immediately thought of my friend, Faye. On impulse I ordered it to be sent to her as a gift, although the catalog did not have a gift card option. A few days after Christmas, she called to ask if I had sent it to her. And then she told me this story: She had been living away from her family for a couple of years and was missing the feelings of love they provided. Although they sent her Christmas gifts, the gifts hadn’t arrived in time for Christmas. Mine was the only gift she received for Christmas, and it didn’t include a card to say who it was from. Faye had been depressed, and this gift, with its positive statement about her value, was exactly what she needed to lift her spirits. After thinking through her list of friends, she guessed it was me who had sent it.
This is an example of “knowing” what someone else needs, and giving it. It is wonderful to receive this kind of gift. But it is also very rare. We cannot live our lives expecting to receive enough of these intuitive gifts to fill us with the love and support we all need. Sometimes we need to ask for what we want. And it’s not only “okay” to ask, it is a sign of mental and emotional health to be open about what we want and need. It is the opposite of playing games. It is authentic. It shows respect for our ourselves.
So, back to my husband… after just a few moments of thought, I said, “I wish you’d bring me flowers.” My husband said, “Okay,” and later that day, he brought me a beautiful bouquet. The picture above is of the flowers he brought to me. These flowers make me smile every time I look at them!
~ Oprah Winfrey
Have you been caught in the trap of believing it’s not okay to ask for what you want? Have you thought that asking will negate the love in a gift? Or, maybe you asked, but didn’t get a positive response? What did you do then? As women, we can all benefit by sharing our stories and ideas with each other, so please post your comments below.