Conversations at the Crossroads.

Are You Asking For It?

It isn’t always easy to ask for what we need.

A sounding board
A shoulder to lean on
Time to think
Breathing room
Some space to reenergize

It is reasonable to want these things on occasion. It is even reasonable to want them often. After all, we generally seek them with good intentions at heart. We expect that satisfying these needs will ultimately serve us well, improving our outlook, offering new perspectives on a situation, or perhaps just calming us down.

Yet, we don’t always ask for what we need. Even when we expect it to help. Even when it feels urgent.

Why is that? Why is it so hard to ask?

Sometimes we think that asking for help is a sign of weakness. We’re ashamed that we can’t do it on our own. We’re convinced we should put on a strong front. We tell ourselves to be tougher, hold it together, keep up appearances.

Sometimes we think that asking for time or space will cause others pain. We don’t want our requests to be perceived as rejection, or an unwillingness to work things out together. We don’t want to hurt feelings. We can’t find the words to explain that it’s not about you, it’s about ME. So we don’t ask.

When we don’t ask, though, there can be emotional consequences.

We might feel isolated. We feel stuck and more alone than ever with our problems. We become victims.

We might feel defensive. Without capacity to see a broader spectrum of solutions, we fiercely defend the path we’re on, even if we aren’t certain it’s the one we want to be on.

We might feel agitated. When we don’t take the time or space we need, we become even more sensitive to the circumstances we are trying to step away from.

In all these cases, we end up feeling lousy. In all these cases, the result is lower energy and a diminished ability to take positive action. In many cases, in spite of trying not to hurt others’ feelings, we find we hurt them anyway, with our resentment, defensiveness, or impatience.

So how exactly do we benefit from not asking? 

Sometimes we don’t benefit at all.

Next time you feel a strong desire to ask for help or support or space – whatever the need may be – consider the consequences of not askingWith an expanded view of the situation, you might find yourself making a very different decision, empowered to dismiss shame, pride or concern as reasons for keeping quiet.

Ask for it. Ask for what you need. When we take care of ourselves, it has a ripple effect. We are better equipped to face challenges, find solutions, and create more satisfying life experiences.

I’m all for that. Are you?

With support and encouragement for your journey,

Founder, The Crossroads Coach

Published April 4, 2013