Getting What We Want from Others

Why do we rarely get what we want from others, even when we give our all? What if we could never count on getting what we wanted from others? How would that have us feel? Hopeless? Powerless? Despondent? For many of us, this is what it felt like as children, and our lives still reflect this core belief. What if getting what we want is not dependent on others? What if it comes from ourselves? What if we are able to give ourselves what we want and drop our expectations of others completely?

One reason we find ourselves in this quandary is our limiting beliefs about whose job it is to take care of us in the first place. We may have learned that those in authority (parents, teachers, governments, banking system, siblings, etc.) should be taking care of our needs and watching out for us. This inter-generational belief keeps us from internalizing this critical job of self-care for ourselves. It is our job to know and take care of our own needs yet few of us learned how to do this. Some of us learned the opposite – that we can’t trust or rely on those in authority and the only safe way is to suffer by going at it alone or doing it all ourselves. Either way, we give our own personal authority away when we make decisions from this limited perspective.

Many of us have been trapped in thinking of ourselves as powerless to make changes outside of ourselves, or we feel it is someone else’s job (parents, spouse, school, government, church, justice systems, job, etc.) to make changes for us on our behalf. We may find ourselves waiting for others, or for circumstances to be ‘just right’ before we take action on our own behalf. We may shy away from moving forward because it is so overwhelming to do it all alone. In the end, all of these behaviors keep us from getting what we want.

Another belief that keeps us stuck here is that the scales must stay balanced between giving and receiving which has us focus on keeping score as to who is ‘owed’ and who ‘owes’. This belief has us feel cheated when we give more energy/attention/support than we are receiving back from that person or situation. We have this idea that if we give to them, they will give back to us in equal measure.

What if this isn’t true? What if we decided to no longer give to others with the expectation of receiving back in equal measure from them? What if we could drop this expectation and just give unconditionally because it feels good?

This shift would take the ‘obligation’ out of our relationships and release us and each other from the unspoken expectations we live by. Then we could give from ‘inspiration’ and receive fully without obligation.

Regardless of where we are in our life, it’s time to learn how to take care of ourselves in all the ways that we can. Asking for what we want, saying no to what we don’t want, asking for those things clearly, kindly and without attachment to the outcome. Getting what we want comes from honoring ourselves and our needs consistently in each area and relationship in our lives. It can be shocking how situations and relationships can shift when you do this.

I had a boss that used criticism for feedback and control to manage the team. As a result, I felt chastised and micro-managed much of the time. After 2 years of complaining about it to others and threatening to leave, I decided that I wasn’t putting up with it any longer. I spoke up about how I felt, said I was no longer willing to operate that way, and asked for what I wanted instead (constructive feedback and major milestone support). I also shared that if I was feeling controlled or criticized in the future, I would be changing the subject or ending the conversation. This is the way I took care of myself. I couldn’t change my boss’s behavior, but I could be clear about how it was for me and what I would do to take care of myself if they continued the old way. In the end, I’m responsible for supporting what I want and don’t want – not the other person. My boss’s new awareness of how I felt and what I wanted, and my new commitment to hold that boundary firm for myself, completely transformed our relationship. I never heard a word of criticism again and they pulled back their attention and focus on my day-to-day work no longer trying to micro-manage my effort.

Taking care of ourselves means being self-respectful. When we are respectful of ourselves, we receive respect from others.

If respect is something you want to get from others, start with respecting your own wants instead of focusing on theirs. That is their job to do for themselves. When we all do this for ourselves, we can meet in a place of supporting ourselves and supporting each other from inspiration and without expectation of equal return.  We give to others when it feels good for us to do, and we receive from both ourselves and others without obligation.

How can you give yourself what you really want today?


Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
Wendy Watson-Hallowell | The Belief Coach
WENDY is passionate about enabling individuals, organizations and communities to value themselves and each other in the ongoing process of change. Wendy has guided hundreds of individuals and over 750+ public and private sector organizations to achieve tangible increases in impact and performance. Her successful practice in mentoring and coaching has led to authorship of the book, ‘Live a Life You Love and Make a Living Doing It’. Over the last 30 years, Wendy’s skills have been honed in leadership roles at MTV Networks, The Rensselaerville Institute, and a variety of community based projects in her town. In 2015 she launched BeliefWorks and offers Belief Coaching as a way to address the root cause of what limits the results we can achieve both personally and professionally. This is an 'upstream' solution to change. Instead of changing limiting behavior, she focuses on changing the limiting beliefs that drive that behavior. In all cases, her clients and partners speak to the specific increases in achievement that her consulting, coaching and partnership roles make possible.

SOLD OUT! JOIN OUR WAITING LIST! It's not a virtual event. It's not a conference. It's not a seminar, a meeting, or a symposium. It's not about attracting a big crowd. It's not about making a profit, but rather about making a real difference. LEARN MORE HERE



  1. What an outstanding article, Wendy! There’s much valuable and insightful content offered here. I resonate so powerfully with the idea of releasing expectations and taking on our own self-care, taking back our dignity, and responding to others from a place of self-empowerment. This shift in my thinking, speaking, and taking action took me years of practice and failing, standing back up, discerning, and growing. Currently, I know in my bones that I’m the only one who creates my life (with the support of God/Universe-and amazing high quality people). The core of “control” remains inside of me-I can adapt, reframe, unlearn, flow through, align, take myself to neutral, respond from compassion and love, cultivate the contents of my own character from the inside out. My thoughts, feelings, actions, words spoken are mine and I get to take 100 percent responsibility for these. I am not responsible for the inner worlds, words spoken or behaviors done by others. I can choose what I focus on, what I walk away from, who I connect with, what energy presence I create from the inside out, and where I take my life energy, gifts, skills, and passions and athletic body.

    Thank you so much for this burst of empowerment that resonates powerfully with my inner peace and freedom!

    This wisdom remains in our hearts and bodies. To listen closely to the brilliance there helps retrain the mind.

  2. Thanks Wendy!

    You’ve shared a great way of explaining how valuing yourself requires speaking up.

    Reaching a Win/Win situation is necessary. For both parties.

    Indeed, otherwise, eventually the situation will otherwise slowly yet steadily become worse and worse for you.

    Probably for the “other side” as well because the real you is not showing up.

    Thus, there’s no connection at all.

    And the you that shows up becomes an inauthentic version of a you that’s dying to get away.

    For another take on your story, you can look to the Bible.

    Many places, yet including 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5, summarized in verses 15-17… “always seek what is good [both] for each other and for all. Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks”