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What have you asked for lately? Anything?

I’ve been thinking about this recently because I realised that, on a normal day, I don’t ask for much. Our culture values self-sufficiency. It is considered a sign of capable adulthood to be able to maintain yourself and go about your day without asking for help.

There is nothing wrong with independence, but by subtly putting down asking — relegating it to children or the “needy” (as if we aren’t all needy?) we lose out on an important element of human interaction.


Photo by William Stitt on Unsplash

Asking for help is powerful. When we articulate our needs, when we are brave enough to be vulnerable and admit that we need someone else, we open a deeper channel of communication.

Asking for help shows maturity and humility. It is a sign that we are realistic about our limitations. It gives us a chance to draw on other people’s expertise or assistance, which in turn enhances their sense of well-being.

We all like to be in a position to help, of course. It feels good, it affirms our competence and compassion. Which is why it is a compassionate and unselfish to ask others for help.

Asking for help can happen in many ways large and small. It might be as simple as requesting a colleague to give a hand with a work project, or as personal as discussing your emotional needs with a friend or partner.

When we ask for help with a sense of kindness and acceptance, both of who we are and of the other person, we create space for an empowering exchange.

This passage from a Henry Miller letter to Anais Nin sums up the power of asking:

“By receiving from others, by letting them help you, you really aid them to become bigger, more generous, more magnanimous. You do them a service… It’s only because giving is so much associated with material things that receiving looks bad…”

What have you asked for lately? Share in the comments.