Gary and the Seal

How to Ask for What We Want (Non Violent Communication and Gary and the Seal in the Scilly Isles)

Honesty Is The Best Policy, Asking For What You Want (and Gary and the Seal)

So, are you prepared for an honest blog post?

Here’s the thing. Despite being a highly successful Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist, I’m also a human on a journey. I’m always very clear with my clients about that. We’re all on a journey but some of us are further along with some of the things is all – but we’re all sharing an endless journey. That knowledge is either comforting or depressing, depending on what sort of  mood you might be in, but for me that’s mostly hugely comforting. I can help you because I get it and at some point your accumulated wisdom will go on to help someone else. We’re all paying it forward.

So one of my seemingly life-long journeys is with being able to ask for what I want or feel I need to have happen. On this path, I am alternately confused and challenged, impressed and inspired. To put it in a nutshell, I struggle with this stuff despite working very effectively with clients on it for many hundreds of hours. It’s easy to see patterns in others that you find hard to shift yourself for sure, and awareness of the pattern usually isn’t enough to shift it – as I am testament to!

So, I guess the way I live my life means that I am very aware of my internal patterns and in my work with clients I am always looking for theirs too. This in itself can present problems. Sometimes this is good and sometimes this is just purely frustrating as awareness leads to uncomfortable – and I’m also a firm believer that an over zealous navel-gaze is not a good idea unless with the purpose of transformation (through Cognitive Hypnotherapy or another powerful modality for change).

So, this morning my relationship with being able to ask for what I want was brought into sharp focus in a conversation with a friend who, quite frankly, was confused by my behaviour around a specific issue. Totally fair enough. I was probably more confused myself than any other person observing could possibly be. In this issue I get foggy very quickly.

So I decided to dive into this as a topic this morning, to explore and understand how I do my thing further and kick it to the kerb (even just a wee bit!), and in doing so I thought I’d share some my thoughts and realisations.  Vulnerable blog posts about myself always feel the most difficult to write but ironically always get the most views. I guess we learn lots about ourselves by hearing how things are for others, so let’s see where we go here. I hope something here is useful to you too.


Gary and the Seal



So, I bet you’re wondering what the seal has to do with it?  That’ll come later – I promise.




But First, Let’s start With What I Think I Know:

  1. Connecting to what you feel/want/need is essential to good mental health and therefore healthy relationships. Most people (including me for a long time and still to an extent now – I’m a human as I said!) learn to disconnect from their needs. This does not have to be the way it is.
  2. We learn what we feel to be acceptable, or not, from a very young age. I learnt many of my beliefs about what I do or don’t deserve from a parent who both nonverbally and verbally, let me know that what I asked for was more often than not, too much.
  3. Learning how to receive is as important as learning how to ask. For me, guilt is for me a primary blocker to receiving well. Others have a sense of duty, a deep seated believe that they’re not deserving, or good enough, or a gazillion other things. As I write this I am also connecting in that mine is also around not feeling worthy enough of full deep attention and/or love. That’s difficult to write for sure as it feels like I’ve just touched a deep truth. Luckily I know what to do with this so it doesn’t have to be so any longer.
  4. Asking for what you want or need and then receiving well is an art that is best practised often. It is like working a muscle at the gym. Use it or lose the ability to do it well and with grace.
  5. I was once taught a practice of asking for what you want without the intention of getting the need met outside of you, but just with the intention of a full, clear and deep expression. This is an awesome practice that I’d forgotten about. I’m bringing it back as it breaks through fears of rejection, being too much, unhelpful self-censorship etc. Check out my blog for the Huffington Post on the Rejection Guy for a thought provoking film on this.
  6. Nothing has to be the way it’s always been. We can change all behaviour, thought patterns and beliefs and yet this can be easy to forget. This is not ‘Just the way I am”, it’s just the way it has been until now.
  7. Other people see your patterns better than you do. One of the greatest gifts in my life is a dear Cognitive Hypnotherapist and Coach friend with whom I have a relationship of total openness, honesty, love and a no-holds-barred, no-bullshit analysis of what we see each other doing. “Yeah, that thing, you totally need to stop that now – that’s hysterically bad. Come and have a session.” or “You are telling the biggest bullshit story around that. What could you see differently here?” are very common observations from each of us.   Having someone to help point out your blind spots is such a gift. If you don’t have a qualified friend, seek out and pay someone. It will always be worth it.
  8. Uncomfortable is probably where the most growth is. The situation I found myself in today felt incredibly gnarly, but the one thing I know is that if I allow that feeling it’s specifically being in it that holds the most information for expansion. It might (usually never) be immediately obvious what that means, but being open to that growth is definitely the way forward.
  9. A good use of language REALLY helps. This is easy to remember when we are not in fear, anger or another fight or flight state, but bringing this to your awareness can really make the difference. The principles of Non-Violent Communication really help here. Marshall Rosenburg’s work is worth checking out on YouTube or in his books. If you click this link HERE you’ll be taken to a post I recently wrote about it.
  10. And finally: Love may be the way forward here. I find for myself and for my clients that if you soften your belly, breathe more deeply and allow yourself to feel your heart and the heart of the human that you’re with, you get a physical change in how you communicate that translates into a mental change in how you communicate. If you love out more and connect with the human in front of you in a deeper, more heartfelt way it’s so much easier to ask and to receive what you need and want and to give what is needed and wanted. Knowing how to do that in means I’m a really wonderful coach and therapist. My journey is to do more of that in my personal life!

So What’s Next?

So basically, in answer to that I encourage you to watch the film below – Gary and the Seal. He has this pretty much sorted. I have no words for how cute and simple this seal makes it. He gives and receives here and thoroughly enjoys. I’m pretty sure that’s all the wisdom we need, but if you’d like to explore this theme and how it shows up in your life do get in touch and we can schedule a session. Isn’t this life interesting?!

With love to you,

Kirsty Hanly Coach and Cognitive Hypnotherapist



Gary and The Seal