‘Tis the season where many are scrambling to find the perfect gift for all their loved ones. I’ve heard from many clients and friends: I don’t like the gift that my partner gave me last year…how do I tell them what I want instead without making them wrong?”
My client Suzy complained to me, “Last year my husband got me a vacuum for Christmas. A Vacuum!?! He just did that because he wants me to do all the housework; so ‘If I get her a good vacuum, she’ll do more of the cleaning.’ That’s not a gift! I want him to get me something more romantic and thoughtful. How do I tell him that?
This relates to communicating your desires about anything. How do you ask for what you want in a way that’s likely to be heard and lead to deeper connection instead of misunderstandings?
I first helped Suzy process her judgments, so she could ask in an inspiring way. Here are the steps so you can follow along with whatever you want to ask for 🙂
- What’s the story you’re telling yourself about the gift or action that your partner did that you didn’t like? Suzy was telling herself that he got it for her so she could do more cleaning.
What’s your disempowering story?
- What might be the positive intention behind their gift or action? I challenged Suzy to re-interpret her story. Turns out that she did tell her husband she wanted a new vacuum, and he was just clueless that she wanted a more emotional gift. Once we discovered that, it was easy for her to let go of her upset about it, and figure out how to ask in an inspiring way.
What might be the positive intention underneath your loved one’s action or gift?
- Now that you’ve released the judgment, you can acknowledge their positive intention when you ask for what you want. This will have them feel honored instead of judged. Suzy’s husband wanted to give her what she wanted as long as she wasn’t making him wrong. (even though he was clueless)
I guided her to say, “I know you got me the vacuum cause I said I wanted one. Thanks for listening to what I say I want; that’s very thoughtful. What I really want for a gift from now on is something more romantic: like jewelry, or a pretty sweater, or something just for my enjoyment; not something practical. Would you be willing to do that?
By acknowledging his positive intention and then asking for what she wanted, Suzy was honoring him and not making him wrong. So he was happy to hear the feedback and get her something more sentimental this year (we’ll see what it ls 😉
How can you acknowledge your partner or loved one’s positive intention even as you as for something different?
I’d love to hear your answers in the comments below.
Could you use some help to untangle what is a happening for you in your relationship? I offer a limited number of GIFT Relationship Breakthrough sessions each month.
Apply here and give yourself a Holiday GIFT!