I am learning the importance of asking for what you want – not just what you can justify needing – but the things that you truly desire in your heart. This has been fundamental for me in planning my upcoming exploratory trip out West, but I’ve been working on it in my everyday life too and hope I can encourage others to do the same.
I was in a park recently, immersed in the joyful bliss of hand-feeding birds, when a man and his dog stopped nearby, watching and asking questions. I spoke to him, but it was only when he went on his way that I realized that perhaps he was hoping I would offer to let him have a go. I didn’t want to presume or be rejected by his dismissal of my offer, but when I caught up with him later on in the park, he concurred that ‘it would have been cool’. If only he had asked.
We don’t hesitate to ask others for help when we’re in dire straits, as our intensity of need overrides our feelings of caution or inhibition. For instance, I met a woman yesterday from Vietnam, who was utterly lost in the transit system and running late for her first day of work. She didn’t hesitate to approach a variety of transit users to help her in her plight, eventually finding her way to me. Fortunately, I was able to accompany her to the right station and eventually (as I am directionally challenged myself) get her safely on the right bus, while forging a lovely connection as we chatted along the way.
In our post-Covid world of being leery of one another, it’s important to remember that it’s completely okay to ask for help and that we don’t have to know everything to help one another either. It’s enough if we can acknowledge our vulnerability, have an open heart and try. We are all so afraid of rejection or feeling foolish, that it can make us clam up and stay within our own walls, afraid to take the risks needed to see what’s on the other side.
The sad truth though, is that so many of us are lonely and seeking connection, but our fear keeps us from attempting to fulfill our emotional needs. This is why it’s so important to reach out – not to assume other people will figure out what we need, but to initiate contact ourselves and be open to receive. Maybe that person is feeling lonely too and together you can build a healing and impactful relationship.
We are naturally social animals and meant to interact with one another in meaningful ways. And it’s actually a sign of strength – not weakness – to reach out and ask for what you need. Being together and united in purpose is effectively what makes us stronger.