Monday Meditation

Do you ask for what you want?

Very good at advocating for snuggles

In my yoga class today, the teacher began by talking about hands-on adjustments — a clear response to that New York Times piece about touch in the yoga studio. She said something simple but striking: In any studio, in any class, if you just aren’t up for being touched (or don’t want to be touched in a particular place or manner), take a moment and tell the instructor. Teachers aren’t mind-readers, and at their best, yoga studios are communities — and the only way community can thrive is if the people in it communicate with each other. Use your words. Advocate for what you need.

How often do you ask for what you need? How often are you your own strongest advocate?

I know I often don’t verbalize my needs or desires — especially (but not only) if I’m having to ask someone in a position of authority, real or perceived. Even in situations like the one my teacher described, where there is basically no downside and both the teacher and I would benefit from me telling her “I would prefer not to be touched today,” I would hesitate.

Asserting what we need or want is hard. It can feel scary or selfish or attention-seeking or demanding. It threatens to make you unlikable. Doesn’t it?

Maybe it’s worth taking a step back and to assess whether that’s true. Where do you hesitate to ask for what you need or want? What sits underneath that fear — how are you afraid others will perceive you if you ask for something or assert yourself? Is that fear rational?

Even if it is — even if someone does perceive you as X because you asked for Y — is that a worse outcome than not getting what you need?

Where can you practice being your own best advocate? Where can you use your words?

xx Jill

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