You are hereby granted permission to
Ask for Something
You can acknowledge that we all have needs and wants, and that might require us to request things.
It’s been said there’s “no harm in asking,” but if that’s true, why do so many of us have a hard time making requests of others? A raise. Seconds. Help. A discount. To borrow a special belonging. To be left alone.
Is it bad manners to ask someone to share something—If you have extra, could I try one of those? Is it rude to ask someone to stop something—I have an allergy, could you please try wearing a different scent to work?
I really don’t know! It seems like it, doesn’t it? At some point, someone decided it’s out of line to ask, and that might be how the tradition of not asking got started.
When some kid innocently asked for a toy and his mother broke into tears because she couldn’t pay the bills.
Or when an ancient clan leader went from hut to hut asking for access to a woman.
Having needs somehow became a bad thing, probably because it got mixed up with being greedy. But isn’t it true that we all have needs, and we all have desires? Of course it is. Makes me wonder why it feels wrong…
Asking vs. Demanding vs. Expecting
A year ago, I was telling a wise man a story about an event in my life that caused me to cry when I tried to describe the circumstances. He responded with this observation:
“You seem to have a problem with having needs.”
Hmmm… “Well. Yes. I guess I do.” I said. Wow. That was an eye opener. I definitely don’t like being needy. He then asked, didn’t I realize everyone has needs?
I told him it was my understanding that it is pretty much up to each of us to meet our own needs. I was raised to cope with what I have, and to be strong and independent. No complaining. No expectations. Don’t bother people. Walk it off. Bite on a bullet.
“But do you ever meet the needs of others?” he asked.
Oh, yeah. Big time! Meeting needs is my jam, pretty much. Sometimes I meet needs before people even realize they need anything (and that would require another counseling session haha).
“So it makes sense for other people to have needs, and you feel okay about meeting those needs when you can. But it’s not okay for you to have needs, or for you to ask other people to meet them when they can?”
Of course, that doesn’t make sense. If you think about it, asking (politely) gets a bad rap for no reason. You might have to manage your expectations, and you ought to refrain from making demands, but you know all that. So just ASK. The truth is, most of us want to help when we can.
This permission is in response to a request from Jerilee. It was just after her 52nd permission, Expect the Best. She gave no reason for asking for a custom permission slip, except that she loved them.
I am so glad she did.
Jerilee, I didn’t intend to take all these weeks to write this. But I wanted to, so thank you for a great reminder that it’s okay to reach out and make a request, even if it what you ask for doesn’t immediately appear.
This was a small thing you asked for, but this permission goes for big requests, too–and it goes beyond us realizing we can Ask for Help. Sometimes we just want a little inspiration or entertainment, but other times we’re in a bind and we are in serious need.
Either way, if we don’t ask, we greatly reduce our chances of getting it.
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photo by Gili Benita