Complaint or Request?

by elizabethbrantley

I was exposed to this idea last night and I think it is brilliant!

Every body has the choice to hear someone as either complaining or requesting.

Hidden deep within every negative comment is actually a secret request.

It is our job to find the request, not to think of it as a complaint.

Let us work with a fictitious example:

Drew decides to visit a friend on Saturday morning.

I get angry since I feel I have to do the laundry and the dishes, and that there are things around the house that I have to attend to.

My mind starts to go down the path and blowing this up (this is feminine energy at work – making little things big)  – Why isn’t he here more often? Why do I have to do all these things? When do I get a break?

All the while, deep down, I am thrilled he is going and doing something he wants to do. Then I am just annoyed that I have conflicting emotions.

He gets back and I am angry with him. After a while I open a little, yet instead of trying to be nice, I give him a deluge of complaints against his behavior.

Here is where it gets interesting. 

He can look at me and see that I am complaining – or he can see that I am actually requesting something.

This request is far from the complaints. The complaints, it appears are just vehicles, for in some strange language that we communicate to each other, I was asking for something more than just a partner in crime to attack the laundry. If he was to pause and say, what is it she is asking for,  he would see that it is not about the laundry or other household tasks, it is about feeling supported and loved. I am asking for his presence, full presence for me and no one else. (And I might not have even known this myself!)

Then, if he tries to give me the request, not a defense against the complaints, I imagine I would in no time feel more than excited to do the laundry all by myself since I would be so fulfilled.

These requests may not be reasonable- or even know to the one so annoyed – but even if they cannot be met, the simple act of  recognizing the request, instead of the complaints,  could change the whole situation – not to mention your relationship.