The Power Behind Asking Yourself, “What Do I Want?”
I am big a believer in saying what you mean and meaning what you say. My delivery can come off blunt and direct, especially when I am asked for my opinion on something related to relationship, career and life advice. The shy, awkward and timid, 12 year old me would be incredibly shocked to find out he would later turn into a person that is assertive in his communication. Growing up, I was soft spoken and was constantly told to “speak up” by my family members, especially from my energetic aunts and uncles. It often annoyed me to hear, “I can’t hear you, you need to talk louder” but my family was so right. Nobody could hear me. When I was very young, my older sister, Jackie did a lot of my talking for me. My voice was quiet and I was not confident in myself and certainly did not like the way my voice sounded. I was picked on in school for the longest time for “sounding like a girl” or “acting like a girl.” Kids were mean and I wished my voice had been deeper, but it wasn’t so – I stayed quiet for a long time. It was not until later on in life when I actually began to use my own truth to help speak more confidently and stand taller. I believe the power honesty and being truthful in what you want, what you want to do, and what you think on a daily basis, can actually help many people be less anxious and live a much fuller life.
A lot of not speaking confidently or directly has to do with the common roadblocks such as having the “need to please” and not fully being able to say what you really want to say. Can you imagine how much easier communication would be across the board if everyone just spoke their truth? Well to fully understand this thought, you need understand why people lie in the first place. Why do people tell half-truths or do things they really don’t want to do?
I think there are many factors but probably the most popular is that we don’t want to let other people down or disappoint. We’ve all been there. Back in the day, I could be asked an easy question like “do you want to go out on Friday night?” With a quick reply, “Yes, of course!” When in reality I was dead tired from the week before and just wanted to stay in, wear my cozy clothes and eat ice cream. For whatever reason, I had a difficult time just saying, “No, thank you.”
It really was not until I met an international entrepreneur named Louise Mohn who helped me speak up and communicate what I really wanted. She was a good boss, but also a helpful guide in my life. One of my favorite questions she would often ask me when I was in a pickle was, “What do you want?” That simple question is now at the root of my philosophy when it comes to navigating and communicating in life. The “what do you want question” made me zero in on my truth, which led to me simply focusing on my true feelings centered on my own intentions, thoughts and wishes. And, when I figured out to just say exactly what was on my mind with manners in tact and honesty turned up full notch, I started to live life much more free and all around happier.
Why? Well, I was doing everything I truly wanted to do and was expressing myself at the true deepness of my core. This is who I am, this is what I think, this is what I want to do, etc.
I was taking full ownership of my life by simply being straight up honest without any worry or needing to please. If you are having challenges in the need to please department, being honest with others, or having a difficult time expressing yourself than I suggest you take a moment and read over the following points:
1. Be Mindful Of Your Time
Many people are truthful about everything else in their life except for when it comes to how they really want to spend their time. Like I said, many people put others before themselves, which leads to bigger issues like exhaustion, resentfulness, and more. I was guilty of that when I worked at the E! Network. There were so many times when I wished I carved out more time for myself than jumping at every beck and call. If you think of your time more preciously, almost as if it were actually medicine for your soul, than I guarantee you will not only thrive more at work, but also feel a lot more rejuvenated. When our time is taken from us, it actually ends up draining our energy and leaving us unfulfilled.
2. Cut Out The Little White Lies
Those little fibs are actually contagious cracks that eat away at your conscience. A small lie can often turn into a bigger lie, which can lead to anxiety because you don’t know what lie you said to who and what story to keep straight. So, my best advice to you is to just tell the truth! Yep, it is that easy and there is not other tip or trick needed. The truth will indeed set you free from any unnecessary drama or heartache.
3. It’s OK To Change Your Mind
How many times have you agreed to do something but really never had any interest? Well, here is the good news – you can change your answer anytime. Be thoughtful and have manners in your delivery, but don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and tell your truth. It does not make you a flake, just as long as you don’t consistently agree to plans to only change your mind every time. Be consistent in your directness, but make sure you also remember to keep your manners aligned with your honesty as well.
4. Let Go Of Fear
Stop worrying about people getting mad at you if you think and feel differently about something. Family and friendship is based around care and compassion. A real friend or thoughtful family member will honor your thoughts no matter, even if they are in sync with their own or not. Have you ever been afraid to tell your hair stylist that they were not following your directions in how you wanted your haircut because you did not want to hurt their feelings? Well, throw that kind of thinking out the window! Communication is not a one-way street, nor a street that is all about pleasing one person. You have to encourage and engage honest conversations.
5. Use Words That Give You A Pause
I have been told I am a very black and white; it is either a yes or a no from me when dealt with a question. However, I am mindful when it comes to using certain phrases when needing more time to decide on something. These are usually my go-to’s:
- “I can’t commit to that right now”
- “Let me get back to you on that”
- “Let’s put a pin in that but I promise to let you know”
If you find yourself ever getting off the honest path or struggling with a decision, take time to meditate, find your center and go back to that important question, “what do you want?”
Once you find that answer, remember that it will always be your guide because it is at the core of what is most significant – your truth!
Matt Jacobi is a writer and has been a voice of truth on various world topics such as women’s rights, religion, mental health, bullying and equality. His current mission is to get more men to stand with women so that they can work together to make equality more of a reality. Jacobi was inspired to be an advocate for women’s rights since the birth of his two nieces. He vowed to bring light to the topic of female empowerment, so they could grow up in a world that is filled with equal opportunity and rights that support them to be leaders, bosses, and – yes, fighters. Freedom fighters, equality fighters, and human rights fighters.
This essay was featured in the Oct. 14th edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.