Friday, July 15, 2011

Whining, Passive Aggression, and the Subtle Art of Asking for What You Need

I whine and complain a lot I'm sure.  When I'm in a bad mood or not getting whatever I want out of a situation I tend to devolve into a preschooler.  I throw an irrational tantrum, never communicate what I want, and invariably frustrate the people around me.

I promise I am working on this ridiculousness!

Last week I was having such a bad day.  I got little sleep.  I was still suffering from a repetitive stress injury in my back and neck rendering me unable to maintain my vigorous exercise routine.  When I arrived at the office, I realized that while I was a good girl and packed my lunch, I neglected to pack a vessel to eat from and utensils to eat with...and I couldn't buy lunch because a visit to a favorite restaurant earlier in the week had all my bank funds locked up because the bus boy ran my debit card five times due to a card reader malfunction (ahem, it was out of receipt paper).  I mean, I had canned fruit and some pistachios in my drawer so I wouldn't starve, but it wouldn't satisfy me like the proper lunch I had planned.

I lamented (whined) my case to my best friend.  She empathized and apologized, but it just made me feel empty.  I struggled with my frustration for a short while.  I vented the same on Facebook (passive aggressive).  Then I put on my big girl pants and honestly and simply told my friend that I needed some encouragement.

You'll never believe what happened next!

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

Still waiting?

She delivered EXACTLY what I asked for.  In her busy day she stopped and said all the positive stuff she knew I needed to hear because I told her specifically what I needed.

And then, guess what?

I felt a million times better.  I wasn't frustrated, I wasn't throwing a tantrum.  I had my needs met.  Amazing how that works when you ask for it!

Awhile later, a coworker offered to give me some money for lunch; another coworker offered me bowls and utensils she (smart, intelligent woman that I am obviously not) kept on hand for such things; and Jeff showed up with a bowl and utensils as a surprise since he was out running errands.  For a moment, I was elated to have such amazing, thoughtful, and helpful people in my life.  Then I felt guilty.  They were responding to my passive aggressive post on Facebook.  Sure, I got the reaction I wanted or needed, but I wasn't very proud of the means by which the reactions came.

I know, I know.  I think too much.

I needed a moment to complain to the world.  There's no shame in that.  I shouldn't feel guilty about it.  I just wanted to vent, and vent I did.  People who didn't have to offered to come to my rescue.  I also asked for help constructively and received it.

By the time my lunch hour rolled around, it was definitely a good day.

The complex, often dualistic, meaning 10 of Swords was definitely my day in a nutshell.


PS_Iloveyou said...

I wish you wouldn't feel guilty for asking for what you need.

Love you! Always here for you. And glad you asked so I knew how to help you!

Stephen H. Provost said...

Thinking too much is a sign of intelligence.