Learning to Ask

Late last year I discovered just how closed up I’ve been to receiving. But, it took me a bit longer to recognize how much more difficult ‘asking’ is for me.

Place me in a business environment, and I’ll be one of the most effective negotiators that you see. I confidently ask for raises. I unapologetically make sure that outside partners know what I need from them.

Shoot, I’ll even ask for a ninja turtle arcade machine and a vanilla ice visit and find a way to make it seem relevant!  I have no fear of asking when business is the focus.

Now that it’s clear that I was a kid in the 90s, here’s another confession…

When it comes to my personal life, when it comes to asking of those closest to me, I feel anxiety or guilty, or both. Not because I doubt that they will show up for me,  but because I feel (literally) badly asking for something.

I don’t want to inconvenience. I don’t want someone to feel obligated. And, just as importantly, I don’t want to feel less independent.

Last week, right when I needed it, in a complete coincidence, I found myself at dinner with one of my closest friends and he revealed his hesitancy in asking of me. Not because I wouldn’t say yes, but because he shares the same feelings of guilt, a fear of asking too much or too often.

Hearing him say what I’ve been generally feeling gave me the opportunity to be on the other side.

I don’t want him to hesitate in asking of me. That was my authentic and organic initial reaction.

It is my honor to be in his life and to share in his journey. I want to enjoy being his friend as much as I can with all the curve balls and surreal glorious moments that life presents him. I want this with him and in all the relationships that are important to me.

So, why, then, is it difficult for me, for many of us, to ask of those whom we love and love us most?

It’s a territory that I’m still exploring and navigating.

But, what I do know is that when I started working on receiving life got more fulfilling.

When I stopped repeatedly questioning why someone wanted to give to me, if there were ulterior motives, my view of trust became a little less suspicious.

When I worked on feeling less guilty about receiving, the more I was able to recognize the happiness that others get in giving.

The simple awareness of my struggle with receiving allowed me to unpack it when I faced it and that has resulted in my ability to receive more. I’m not going to lie – it feels freeing.

It is a relief to allow myself to receive, to receive without skepticism, to receive fully.

I wasn’t aware how much of what I wanted I was blocking from my life, because I wasn’t ready to receive. The moment when I decided that I wanted to work on receiving magic happened.

Not everything in life is equal, but there is an appreciation for balance that has gained a new significance in my life. Not a ‘you scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours’ mentality, but rather one in which I’m allowing myself to value that there is no shame in asking or in receiving.

It does not take away from our independence, it does not make us indebted to another, and there is certainly no reason for guilt when we ask of those in our trusted support network.

When we ask we are not forcing others to comply, but we are giving them the opportunity to give, whether it’s their time, a sharing of their talent, whatever it may be.

As long as we don’t have an expectation of the other person, or take a ‘no’ or ‘not right now’ personally, then we approach asking and the act of receiving in a healthy manner.

Giving and receiving are part of life and asking is sometimes needed when what we want is not intuitive to those around us.

How do you practice asking and receiving?




6 thoughts on “Learning to Ask”

  1. Great post. I also struggle with asking because I feel I am bothering or being inconvenient, but am working at getting better. A few years back I learned to receive instead of being suspicious of their motives and it has been so liberating. I know allow gifts to be a blessing rather than me feeling bad about it.

    1. Thanks, Edith. Also, congrats on your progress with the ‘health’ intentions. You look good and more importantly, from what I can gather from your writing, it looks like you feel well!

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