How to Get Your Needs Met: 4 Tips on Asking & Receiving

Some time back in graduate school I realized that if I don’t ask for help when I need it, it might never come. Like so many women, I’d spent the first several years of my marriage expecting my husband, OJ (no, not Simpson), to just “see” what I needed, wanting him to “notice on his own,” feeling that if I had to actually tell him what was wrong then he obviously didn’t love me well enough. Sound familiar?


We’ve all seen this before, whether in a friend, on TV or in our own relationships. But friends, I hate to break it to you—if you don’t ask for what you need you can’t expect to receive it. It’s a lesson old as scripture, “Ask and ye shall receive” (John 16:24). Yet how often do we forget to ask, standing like fools waiting endlessly for a thing that will never come. Instead, try letting go of your expectations and pride and asking. Asking is, after all, the key to receiving.


How to Get Your Needs Met: 4 Tips

1) Before you can ask for what you need, you have to know what you need.

Often we don’t ask because we simply don’t know. Taking stock of our needs on a regular basis is a good idea for overall well-being in all realms: physical, emotional, intellectual, social, and spiritual. The sooner we recognize a need and fill it, the easier life becomes; we end up preventing the bigger problems that arise when needs pile up over  time. Thus, examining your needs is an important tool, and the first step of asking for them to be met.


2) Once you know what you need to ask for, state it clearly.

Too often we know what we need but fail in our attempt to communicate it. We beat around the bush, mince words, or hint at what we need, again hoping the other person will just “get it” and take care of things. But people are not mind readers, and most of the time others just aren’t good at filling in the blanks. Stating clearly what you need is crucial to actually getting it. The more specific you are, the better. Don’t just say, “Honey, I need a nap sometime, maybe.” Say, “Honey, I need a nap, so if I go in my room now for an hour would you please watch the kids and actually play with them and guard the door so they won’t wake me up?” with a smile of course. (Obviously I have personal experience with this one). Be clear. Be direct. Be willing to ask for exactly what you need.


3) Ask the right person.

Not everyone is equipped to give you exactly what you need. If you need help with childcare, ask someone who loves your child; if you need help with housework, ask someone who knows how to make a bed. If you need someone to just listen, ask someone who can let you be the focus of the conversation for a while. Just because one person isn’t able to provide what you need doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be asking. Keep asking until you find the one willing and able to serve you best. Also, don’t be afraid of “putting them out” or “burdening them”. Just as it is your responsibility to take care of what you need, they are responsible for their needs and can say no if they choose. As one of my favorite wise men once said, “God does notice us, and he watches over us. But it is usually through another person that he meets our needs.”[1] Allowing others to meet our needs blesses them with the opportunity to serve and grow too. It’s a win-win situation.


4) And finally: Don’t forget to ask your Higher Power.

Connecting to the Source that knows and understands your needs better than anyone is the surest way to receive what you need. Sometimes it comes as a change in how you feel or in a whisper that lets you know you’re not alone and that you are loved. Sometimes it’s a sudden knowing–that light-bulb moment of what you must do, or the motivation, perhaps, to actually do it. It may come in the form of a dream, a song, or a piece of art that speaks to your soul. Or it may be a feeling of peace that sweeps over you, a quiet sense that everything will be ok. The act of asking is an act of faith, and, faith is the beginning of all things that come into being.


Ask and Receive

You’ll be amazed how easily your needs can be met if you simply ask. Get clear on what you need. Seek out the person to best help you fill that need. Seek the Divine. And ask. Then, stand, ready to receive.


[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’][/author_image] [author_info]Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. She’s worked very hard over the years to ask for what she needs, and is finally feeling like she’s actually pretty good at it. And that, she sees, is good for everyone.[/author_info] [/author]


How to Get Your Needs Met-4 Tips on Asking & Receiving,


Have you ever struggled to identify and get your needs met? Do you ever feel like you don’t know how to do it, or like you might not even deserve it? Leave a comment, below, and let us know your thoughts and tips on asking and receiving.


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[1] Hinkley, G. (1979). The Abundant Life. Tambuli, June, vol. 3.

About Dr. Christina Hibbert

Clinical Psychologist, Mom of 6, Postpartum Couples DVD Producer, Non-Profit Founder, and expert on Parenting, Women’s Emotions, Pregnancy & Postpartum, and Grief & Loss, Dr. Christina Hibbert loves songwriting, learning, and teaching what she learns. She really hopes you’ll join the Personal Growth Group and choose to grow together!


  1. I think stage one – know what you need, is very important. We often do not get clear in our heads what we want out of life and drift or feel dissatisfied. When we know what we want we can start to communicate that to others.

    • Thank you, Ian. I completely agree. I think knowing what we need is often the hardest part for many of us. I hear, in my practice, all the time, “I don’t know what I need, and I don’t even know how to know.” Slowing down and giving it some thought is definitely a good place to start, though I think I’ll just have to write a post on “How to Know What you Need” someday too! 😉 Best to you.

  2. I think it’s also helpful to recognize obstacles to your needs and make a plan to overcome them. For me I think this is a lot to do with not delaying my needs till they are magnified. I think I get stuck in this sometimes, because I’m in such a habit of repressing my needs until they are absolutely demanding of attention. Then I feel-and sometimes hear from others-that I am so needy because I am at such a point of desparation-to eat something, to have someone listen to me vent, or whatever it may be. And then I feel like-“my needs are too much for people. What’s wrong with me?” It occurred to me while reading this, that the need was a need before it was necessary in an urgent sense. When I look back in retrospect, there are so many things I need that I reason I don’t “need” and put off. But ultimately don’t we “need” them? Like, exercise or a shower, or something that seems more superfluous but is in fact vital to our well-being like, time with our spouse or significant other. I want to become more aware of my needs before they become “NEEDS” (if you get me). I hear myself saying-“I need to go eat dinner,” but then a few hours later, I still haven’t. I think it’s really beneficial and goes in line with what you were talking about in the 6 phases of change, to ask ourselves, Why hasn’t this need been met? It isn’t necessarily not esteeming ourselves or procrastination, either. I think there are so many potential obstacles. Perhaps we tried asking someone for help with someone on the first try without a positive response, and gave up. Or there is something in is that feels undeserving, or we need to get something in place first. I loved your thoughts about the 6 phases of change and I think we can apply it here, too-because so often we don’t realize-yeah I’d really like that, actually I’ve “needed” that for a long time. What a healthy thing to daily check in and say “what do I need? Truly need? Am I willing to do something to ask or act (especially when I need to meet the need myself for example). If not, why? And then resolve that

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Lara. I completely agree. There are many reasons we don’t get our needs met–we don’t think they’re important, we’re lazy, we give up because it feels hard, others aren’t good at actually following through. The list goes on. And I agree the important question to daily ask is, “What do I truly need?” and then go and make sure it happens. We are so much happier and healthier when we meet our needs, and that makes those around us happier and healthier, too!

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