How To Get What You Want And Still Feel Good About It

There are things in life we have to go out and get for ourselves. Things that are not simply given to us, things we have to earn and put effort towards receiving. Sometimes we have to ask for what we want, and other times we have to take actions that will award us the things we’re after.

What are the things you want?

You must ask yourself what it is you want.

Are you looking to earn a promotion at work? Are you trying to get a job in a competitive environment? Are you fighting for what’s rightfully yours in an argument? Are you trying to gain favor, appreciation, or praise? Identify what it is you’re truly after.

Maybe you’re fighting against something. You could be speaking up for your needs and attempting to convey to your partner that you need alone time and emotionally can’t handle babysitting their child all the time. Maybe you’re trying to inform your family that you don’t want to come home for the holidays because the trip is too much of an emotional burden and would bring up too many unsavory childhood memories.

Maybe what you want is something grand. You want to ask your partner to marry you, you want to ask your parents to move closer to you and your family, you want to make a big move across the country to further advance your career.

These are all situations you might find yourself in where you must take action in order to achieve the outcome you desire.

Can I get what I want in life? 

As a matter of fact, we can. With a few fine-tuned behavior changes, we can absolutely achieve our desired goals and accomplish the results we strive to gain.

Sometimes we ask ourselves if we can actually get what we want. We know what we want, we know what we’re after, but we don’t know if that thing is truly achievable. We don’t know if we are fully capable of successfully capturing what it is we are chasing.

The things we want sometimes seem out of reach and unattainable. Whether what we want is big or small, we’re unsure of how to properly go after it, and we’re uncertain of if we can even achieve it even if we do make the best attempt possible.

This lack of certainty leads to diminished confidence that puts us within restraints that prevent us from making any effort to even fight for what we want. Low confidence keeps us boxed up and tucked away from the possibility that even if we used all of our power to get what we want, we would still fail.

Fear of failure is often strong, but we must not allow it to prevent us from going after what we want. Getting what you want may seem daunting, but there are surefire ways to go about it without leaving you feeling timid, small, and passive, or on the other side of the spectrum, pushy, mean, and aggressive.

In order to get what you want in life and still feel good about your tactics, you must practice assertive communication and you must discern how weak or how intense your attempt at getting what you want should be. 

How do you really get what you want?

The answer to this is simple; you must ask for it, or you must accept or deny it when it comes your way, depending on whether your desired outcome is to gain something or get out of doing something.

Getting what you want may sometimes seem simple, but it’s not always easy to achieve the end result without feeling icky about it. Sometimes when you’re after something, you don’t look out for the best interest of those around you and end up hurting them. Sometimes in an attempt to get what you want you unintentionally step on others’ toes, insult them, undermine them, speak aggressively towards them,

You may be up for a promotion, but you have to make a compelling argument for yourself and why you should be the one chosen, or you have to sell another employee out to the boss and throw them under the bus in order to stand out from your fellow competitors.

Getting what you want in situations like this can be as easy as being sneaky, telling a lie, going over someone’s head, stepping on someone’s toes, or playing dirty, but those tactics are not going to make you feel good about yourself. Playing the game that way will simply make you feel as though you are lacking respect, integrity, and politeness.

However, if you want to achieve the desired outcome but still be respectful, responsible, honest, yet confident and assertive, there are ways to go about this that will leave you feeling like a good person.

How do you get what you want from someone?

The key to getting what you want from someone is to communicate effectively.

This means communication should be assertive, not aggressive or passive. You want to maintain a posture of respect, confidence, and clarity and if you carry yourself as such, your words will be received in the same manner in which you communicate them.

What is passive communication? 

When someone is communicating passively, they are timid, they don’t stand up for their wants or needs, they allow others to steamroll them and dominate the conversation, they lack confidence, they don’t maintain eye contact, and they shy away from speaking up for themselves.

Passive communication is non-assertive. When communicating passively, this means that you fear making an incorrect statement, you lack confidence in what you are saying, your posture reflects timidity, you want to be liked and accepted as an outcome of the conversation, you are highly sensitive to rejection, and your tone is indirect.

You often keep things to yourself and don’t verbalize how you truly feel in order to maintain some semblance of peace in the conversation, and by doing this, allow the other person the step all over you.

What is aggressive communication? 

Aggressive communication means that you attempt to dominate the conversation, you don’t allow the other person to verbalize their thoughts or feelings, you use fear and criticism, you become frustrated and irritated easily, you try to intimidate the other person, and your voice is loud and commanding.

Aggressive communication is often disrespectful and can be verbally abusive. When communicating aggressively, you are rude and controlling, your words may be violating the rights of others, you are insensitive, you feel the need to be right and your goal is to “win” the argument, and you are judgmental and condescending.

Aggressive communication only serves to intimidate the other person, and you sometimes get what you want as a result of scare tactics. This is not the right way to go about getting what you want.

The key is to use assertive communication.

What is assertive communication?

Assertive communication means that in an interaction, you clearly state your desired outcome in a confident manner, you stand up for yourself and your rights as a person, you listen politely and let the other person get their point across, and you maintain good eye contact.

This means that you are sensitive to both yourself and others, you use tact when you are expressing your thoughts and feelings, you handle the situation maturely and directly, and you refrain from using harsh tones or verbiage.

Assertive communication gets the point across in the most effective way possible. Everything is clearly stated, there is no ambiguity around what is being discussed, and respect and acceptance of both sides are maintained throughout the conversation.

Assertive communication is noticeably different from passive communication and aggressive communication and is the communication style you should use in order to most effectively get what you want from an interaction.

Can you be assertive without being aggressive? 

You can be assertive without being aggressive. The two communication styles are completely independent of each other.

The main distinction between aggressive and assertive communication is that aggressive communication is pompous and cocky, while assertive communication is confident and respectful.

They both get the point across, but aggressive communication is more forceful in being heard, while assertive communication is open to hearing and expressing both sides of the story.

How can I be dominant without being aggressive?

In order to be dominant without being aggressive, you must come into the conversation with an open mind and an open heart. You must be willing to listen to the other person’s needs and feelings while still being able to confidently and clearly express your own wants and desires.

You must show respect for the other person and have a spirit of openness and acceptance. You don’t have to agree with the other person (after all, the goal of this conversation is to get what you want out of it) but you have to be sensitive to the other person and take their feelings into account.

You don’t want to steamroll the conversation by forcing your wants onto the other person, but you should find a way to express your needs in a manner that is respectful of the other person.

How do you get what you want without being pushy? 

In order to get what you want without coming across as pushy, you need to evaluate how much intensity you should use when asking for what you want, or how intensely you should say no when you’re trying to get out of doing something you don’t want to do.

Marsha M. Linehan, the inventor of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), created an intensity scale for how strong or weak your ask or no should be, depending on the situation.

The scale representing the action of asking for something you want ranges from one to ten, one being the absolute lowest intensity and ten being the highest possible.

On the scale, one states that you don’t ask or hint at all. Two, say you hint indirectly and accept a no from the person you’re asking. Three says you hint openly but accept a no in response. Four says you ask tentatively and accept a no. Five is asking gracefully while still accepting a no.

Things change direction on the scale from six to ten. Six tells us that the ask is confident, while still accepting a no. This one differs from the first five on the scale in that the ask is clear and assertive, not timid or nonexistent. Seven states that the ask is confident, but here, you resist the no; you give some pushback.

Eight identifies a firm ask and resistance against the no in response to what you want. Nine states that you ask firmly, insist, negotiate, and keep trying to get a yes from the person you’re interacting with. Lastly, ten, being the highest intensity on the scale, tells us to ask and don’t take no for an answer.

When asking someone for what you want without being pushy, you must consider what is in you’re asking in order to determine how strong your ask should be. The same goes for telling someone no if you’re don’t want to do something they’re asking you to do, and the scale unfolds in a similar format, one telling you to do what the person asks without fighting back, and then telling you not to do that thing.

Using this one-ten intensity scale allows you to think more clearly about what it is you’re asking, and whether it’s worth the ask at all. Assigning a numerical score to how intensely you should ask for what you want gives perspective on if what you’re asking for is worth fighting for, and if it’s truly what you’re after.

Furthermore, once the ask is scored according to the scale, you can then assess how pushy the ask may sound to the other person.

If you’re asking someone to take your child to school in the morning, you may use a five, asking gracefully while accepting a no. The person is not obligated to take your child to school, but it would be a big help. You don’t want to use a ten and demand something that is not within your rights to demand.

If you’re asking your boss for a raise, you may use a seven, asking firmly and resisting a no. You ask for what you want while giving some pushback if your boss replies with a no. You are confident and allow your boss to give their response, but you’re prepared to stick up for what you want by making your case further if necessary.

In conclusion, we know that getting what you want is possible in several different ways. However, the best way to get what you want while still feeling good about it is by practicing assertive communication and assessing how weak or strong your attempt at getting what you want should be. Practice these skills regularly, and you’ll get what you want more often while leaving others feeling heard and respected.

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Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels
Eden is a 26-year-old Aries who loves learning and exploring mental health, self-love, self-care, and eating disorder recovery.

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