January 29, 2016

Do You Struggle to ASK?

Do you struggle to ask?

What I mean by that is, do you struggle to ask for what you need? What you want? For help? Or advice?

I do. I struggle big time. I'm working to improve this in my life but it's hard to reverse how we think about it.

According to Amanda Palmer in the book, The Art of Asking (photo above), asking can't be begging or manipulative. Asking has to feel like courtship ~ a give and take. An open-handed request and a willingness to hear the word "no". 

Asking takes guts and vulnerability. It's taking a chance that you could be rejected ~ which is why most of us would rather not ask. But the problem is that we forfeit good things in life, relationships, families, businesses, marriages, or personal growth when we refuse to ask.

While someone who is manipulative, desperate and controlling will feel burdensome when they ask for something; someone who comes with vulnerability, openness and respect for our answer does not. 

The risk of disappointment is the currency of asking. It's the price we pay to ASK. Answering is the open door of opportunity. It's a chance to give another human our time, our resources, our love. The transaction between the two is connection. 

I offer you the risk of asking and you give of yourself.

I think one of the reasons we're so smitten with marriage proposals is because it's one of the biggest ASKS there is. It's full vulnerability mode.

The problem with living a life of not asking, is that we steal from others the chance to help.

When my grandmother was in her last years, I helped my parents care for her. She was pretty silent in the end but she would sometimes speak up about a need. Maybe she was cold or hungry or needed to go to the bathroom. Her request gave me the opportunity to help her. Had I not known what she needed, I couldn't have helped her.

As human beings, we long to have a meaningful life; to be helpful; to make an impact. We want to give. We're wary of being taken advantage of, but we love giving when there is true need. How many non-profit organizations changing the world today would be able to do that if they didn't ask for help? None of them. How many businesses would've started up if they hadn't asked for help in the beginning? None.

We walk around feeling as though we'll be a burden if we ask; or that we'll look needy or desperate. We have preconceived notions that to be successful means never needing anything or anyone. 

If that's true, then we must have no need for connection. Because connection is give and take, an ask and receive. We all know instinctively that we need connection. So if we need connection, then asking is part of that. It's setting down our fears and asking for help. It's helping when we see someone in need. It's sharing our struggles and recognizing we all need each other.

We've become so independent that we've stopped being communal.

I think lack of community is a big part of why there is so much anxiety, depression and loneliness in the world today. We need each other. But we're not going to change this anti-asking culture until we learn to ASK. And the only way an environment of asking will grow is if we're honest in our replies. We MUST be honest with our replies. We must be as truthful with "no" as we are with "yes". If I can't trust you to be honest, then I'll fear asking anything of you.

We can't change this mindset overnight, but we can pursue a life of asking for what we need; and being truthful in our replies to others.

What do you find most difficult to ask for?

1 comment :

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