The Power of Asking for What We Need

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We all have needs. We need food, water, shelter, community, communication, rest, exercise and that is just the beginning of what we ask for to live a healthy, integrated life. Our needs are always in flux depending on the time of day and time of life we are in. Many of us may recognize we have needs, but then get confused about what it is we need in the event of each moment (we eat when we are tired, talk when we need silence: this kind of confusion will be covered in another post) and even when we think we know what we need we often forget we can request our needs be met. We can request it of ourselves and we can request it of others.

I remember the day I first discovered I could not only ask for what I thought I needed, but I could simply ask for what I wanted (this came right on the heels of the realization that it was OKAY to want things!). Of course I’d been trying hard in my own way to get my needs and wants met for my whole life, but it wasn’t until way into adulthood that I realized I could go about it all much more directly: I could simply ask.

Previous strategies (that I still try out sometimes) had included hard work convincing others that I was lovable and loving, all in a round about attempt to get the love and attention I longed for, wasn’t totally able to get myself, and didn’t trust others would give to me directly. They say that the universe is made of love, but I was doubting it.

So I started asking…this was scary and vulnerable, but exciting. When we ask, there is the possibility we will be met with a NO. All I can say is, it is worth the risk. It may be painful to hear the NO and we may think we will melt into oblivion, but if we can take a deep breath and hold our ground we’ll discover on the other side of the NO is abundant discoveries. We might find out the following:

  • We actually don’t need what we thought we needed.
  • We discover there are other ways to meet this need than our original idea.
  • We find out it is not other people’s responsibility to meet our needs.
  • Which in turn may mean we discover it is not our responsibility to meet other’s needs.
  • We realize we didn’t actually ask for what we needed, so we clarify and ask again.

There is also the possibility we are met with a YES. We ask and we receive. And the truth is, whether the answer is YES, NO, or “I’m not sure, let me think about it, this is awkward, I can’t believe you asked me this” no matter what, we receive. We may not get what we want, but it is possible we get what we need.

So go ask for what you need and then come back and tell us how it went. What did you discover?

If you liked this post you may also like the posts: The Energy of Anger and Genuine Confusion.

Photo from Okko Pyykkö’s photostream.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Juno October 15, 2010 at 7:59 am

Yeah, baby. The Stones wrote a song about it…


Jasmine Lamb October 15, 2010 at 4:08 pm

Thanks, Juno. I meant to post the song, but got busy and forgot. I love the blue eye shadow!


Cynthia October 17, 2010 at 9:47 am

Wow this is my big life lesson, and I struggle with it constantly. I am in the middle of a great big ‘how do I ask for this’; ‘will I get what I want’; ‘is it what I need’?

I’m beginning to figure out at this late date that throwing away what we want is not a productive way to get what we need. And I’m not sure I know what I need, but asking is the only way to find out.



Jasmine October 18, 2010 at 10:25 am

Cynthia, I wonder if you are late in figuring all this out, or if just to approaching it and exploring it and taking the risk of asking yourself the questions you pose above, in this moment, is soon enough?

You write, “And I’m not sure I know what I need, but asking is the only way to find out.” This is my experience, and sometimes the first one to ask is ourselves. What do I need? And then to sit quietly without grasping for any answer, but just to take the time to see what comes, to notice the grasping in the mind, and the sensations in the body, and see what arises. I hope to write more about this in a post soon.

Thanks for offering your thoughts, Cynthia.


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