Love is one of the most important things in life. It can also be one of the most difficult things to feel safe asking for, because it requires so much vulnerability and risks rejection. Throughout my life, I’ve had to really figure out how to ask for love and hold my standards and boundaries, rather than accept whatever is offered to me. And in this post I’ll be sharing some of what I’ve learned on the journey to loving myself and recieving love from others.
Ask for Love You Want to Receive
The first step to asking for love you want is to realize that you are deserving of love and respect, and you do not have to sacrifice parts of yourself in order to receive love from others. You don’t need someone else to make you feel worthy, you are worthy of love and respect all on your own. This mindset takes practice and a lot of unpacking, but once you’ve internalized these messages, it’s so much easier to ask for what you want.
Here are some tips to work on your mindset in order to ask for love you want:
1. Give Yourself Time
“If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” — Unknown
When asking for love is hard, it’s usually because love is something you think you don’t deserve as you are right now, or that you have to earn. That’s why it’s important to give yourself time to heal and grow from past wounds before you start a new relationship.
If you’re not ready, or you don’t think you can handle it, or you haven’t processed your grief and pain from past heartbreaks, then you’re taking on a lot of risk of hurting yourself and other people. This isn’t about being unattainably independent, it’s about learning how to let go and trust that things will work out in the end. It’s about recognizing patterns and becoming comfortable with your own boundaries and standards — and not sacrificing them. Don’t let loneliness lower your standards, babes!
This is the core principle of my saying, “Run Like Hell Toward Happy.” When you’re focused on YOU and the things that light YOU up and make YOU happy, you will naturally grow away from people who don’t align with you, and those who do will be able to keep up with you on your own journey. Partnership is about being partnered, not finding someone to be next to you while you stay exactly the same.
Likewise, you need to give yourself time to practice this with each new relationship. You may not find your forever partner right away. You may not even need or want a “forever” partner! Recognize that each time you practice asking for love in the ways you need it is part of your healing process. You deserve love, right now, just as you are. But not everyone will reflect that love back to you, and it’s okay to take your time.
2. Know Your Non-Negotiables
Boundaries are super hot! When you’re asking for others to love you (either outright asking someone out, having the “What are we?” talk, or simply inviting love into your life in a more general sense), you need to know what you will and won’t accept.
In addition to your basic boundaries, like not being controlling or blowing up your phone if you don’t answer a text right away, you also need to establish long-term expectations and limits. It’s okay to talk about your dealbreakers early. In fact, I think more people should.
For instance, if you are polyamorous, you need to be upfront about that and not try to change it for a potential partner who is monogamous. There’s nothing inherently bad about either model, but if it’s a non-negotiable for both of you, then you’re incompatible. Or if one of you wants kids and the other is child-free and intends to stay that way, it’s the same thing. Hoping one of you changes your mind is a recipe for heartbreak, especially when there’s someone out there on the same page as you already.
3. Practice Saying “No”
One of the biggest obstacles to asking for what we want is a fear of rejection. Rejection can be scary, but wouldn’t you rather be rejected by someone who doesn’t meet your needs? We aren’t dumpster diving for partners, we’re expecting someone to meet us at our level of self-respect. Saying no when others don’t meet your non-negotiables, or make you uncomfortable, is a practice that will help you become more comfortable with rejection. When you say no, be direct and honest with yourself and the other person.
Ask yourself if you wish this person any ill will, or if they simply don’t feel like the right fit. Clarity is a gift, and so is rejection, when it’s done in a clear and upfront way. Don’t try to be sneaky or lead someone on, just like you wouldn’t want to be led on. And this includes not leading yourself on by convincing yourself that you can be the person they want, or they can become the person you want. If you don’t want each other right now, set each other free to find better aligned partners.
When you practice saying no to partners who aren’t right for you, you reinforce the fact that you deserve a partner who is right for you. And you’ll have to ask over and over again in order to find them. And that’s okay!
Ask for Love with Confidence
One of the biggest things that can make you feel like you’re not good enough is when you’re not sure if you should ask. This includes things like being too scared to ask for a date or a relationship, or making assumptions about what the other person will say. We spend so long imagining the ways the conversation could go wrong that we freak ourselves out instead of just asking.
The best way to overcome this is to breathe and be honest with yourself. Know that you’re capable of asking for what you want, and that clarity is beneficial to you both, regardless of the outcome.
Listen and Respond
When you’re talking about the state of your relationship, or communicating your love languages, it’s important to hold space for your partner’s words to be just as important as your own. When you listen attentively, you’re acknowledging that the other person is worth your time. This shows that you’re interested in hearing what they have to say, and that you’re not just trying to get information out of them. It also shows that you’re not going to take their words for granted. Responding with understanding means that you’re not just accepting what the other person is saying, but you’re also taking into consideration your own perspective. This allows for open communication and collaboration, which can lead to a stronger relationship.
If you’re feeling nervous or scared about asking for what you want, remember that you’re capable and you deserve a relationship with open communication and a sense of security. It takes practice, compassion, and willingness to be vulnerable. But it’s awesome to be able to know yourself and trust yourself enough to be you, authentically, and ask for the love you need from others.
Practice Boundaries and Non-Negotiables
I teach creative people (especially queer, neurodivergent, and disabled creatives) to honor their boundaries and make time for their passions. If that sounds like something you need on your journey to better love from yourself and others, check out my free ebook for creatives!