“People who have a hard time receiving choose partners who have difficulty giving.” When these words meet my ear, I stop in my tracks. I am only partially listening to the TV as I wash dishes. Christiane Northrup, leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness, startles me with her observation.

This makes sense, I think. Why choose someone who would lavishly give to us if we are uncomfortable receiving? We’d be in a constant state of discomfort.

Our journey here on planet Earth is to manifest who we truly are. This is what I believe. To do that we need to learn how to ask for what we want. It sounds like such a simple thing and yet it isn’t. After 52 years, of asking Don for what I want there are still times this is difficult. As recently as last night, I encountered this very challenge. We planned to watch a movie together. I put on my pajamas and snuggled up in our usual place in the family room. He made a phone call while I was changing.

The call lasted for an hour.

By the time he was off the phone it was too late to start a movie.

This is such a small thing. But it’s things like these that create mischief in relationships, especially if they are not communicated. Little pockets of resentments start to build only to burst forth at an unexpected moment.

When we do not give voice to our wants and needs, we lose contact with others. Gradually we lose contact with our true self. The result of this is when we are asked what we want, we are clueless. It is as if the file marked ” My Wants and Needs” is empty.

So why don’t we speak up? Our reluctance is based on keeping the peace. We want to avoid conflict. We stay silent.

Here’s a quote from my new book Unfolding. It is from a chapter entitled Dish Soap…

“I’d rather have a harmonious relationship than stir things up by asking for what I want, is what some women tell me.They stifle their voice because of the hassle.To say I am here and this is what I need isn’t easy.”

Sometimes the safety and support of therapy is the place to discover what we want and need. Or a woman’s circle might be a where we unearth what’s tugging on our souls. Still others of us will find our voice by keeping a journal.

These are all ways to begin and continue to learn how to speak up. Eventually we must face husbands, partners, children, friends, coworkers, etc. with our truth. Relationships are where we discover and reveal who we are. Some of that process takes place by first understanding what we want and then asking for it. And if it becomes easier for us to receive our relationship must change. The old balance between our uneasiness with receiving and others difficulty giving will no longer work. Knowing what we want is a risky bargain. It will create waves.

But look at it this way, the Pope stepped down. Earth was hit by an asteroid. Unusual events are occurring all around us.

Maybe it’s time for us to take a risk!