Most of us have been taught that asking for anything can cost us. Perhaps we’ll look weak, impolite, or needy. Maybe we’ll lose status or wind up owing somebody else a favor. But asking is often the only way to access the opportunities and resources that can change our own lives and others’ for the better.
In this installment of The Living Experiment, we talk about the art of making requests based on your authentic desires. We explore how asking can create stronger connections with others, even as it helps us build a more honest relationship with ourselves.
Finally, we suggest some strategies for making more successful requests, and experiments to help you explore the possibilities that asking might help open up in your own life.
Rise Above Resistance
- It can be scary to ask for what you want, particularly if you feel your request might be judged or resented, or otherwise make you look bad.
- Women, in particular, may be societally discouraged from asking for what they want, for fear of “making a fuss” or becoming “a burden” on others.
- Regularly settling for less than we want tends to create patterns of resentment and frustration.
- Not sure what you want? Look at where envy is showing up in your life, then look below the surface. Envy and jealousy are often desire in disguise.
- Skillful, thoughtful asking tends to build intimacy, not degrade it. Think of your request as a means of deepening your relationship with the person considering it, not as an obligation or order for him or her to fulfill.
- Consider sharing with that person the process that brought you to this moment of asking, whether a period of reflection, a sudden insight, or an emerging sense of what would work best for you and others. Help him or her understand the foundations of your desire, explaining the context of your request and articulate the deeper values that are driving it.
Embrace the Benefits
- Look for the places your hopes and desires overlap with others’. See the bigger picture and ripple effect that could result from inviting others to participate in the fulfillment of your goals.
- Regard your desire as inherently valuable and clarifying — no matter how your request is received. Desire, when clear and authentic, creates movement and…