Whether you are asking a friend for help in the midst of a meltdown, asking a lover to share their feelings, or even asking The Universe (really, yourself) to bring you new opportunities, taking what is weighing on your heart & mind and lobbing it out there into the realm of possibilities can be terrifying. All of the sudden, as the asker, you experience immense vulnerability and accountability. You are exposed. You are in need. You now play a part in the followthrough, because you have set your request free into existence, outside of your own confines. And, in this raw state of requesting something, now you must be prepared to receive, and what you receive could very well be rejection and judgement.
But, guess what? If you don't ask, the answer is always 'no.' The door is always closed. Your mind will continue to hamster-wheel and your heart will remain clenched with hope (ugh, pitiful hope). You're trapped in the waiting room of your own mind, tapping your foot and eagerly hoping that someone else shows up -- to read your mind, magically answer your questions, and fulfill your desires.
That sounds terrible and exhausting. That looks like living in the backseat. That requires an immense amount of complacent, expectant 'patience' that ultimately puts pressure on everyone and everything else to follow through on your unexpressed needs and desires. That feels like powerlessness, like everything you want lies outside of yourself in a fabricated, "gimme" desperation. Well, screw that. I'm not interested in the blame game.
The power of asking is immense. And, correspondingly, the responsibility for you to show up and be open to receiving is equally immense.
Let's start with what 'asking' looks like. Being intentional and direct about what you want is important. Before you make a request of yourself or someone else, seriously consider what it is you want to create, need help with, or desire. Do you want to create a new position for yourself at work? Do you want your partner to be more affectionate? Do you need a friend to give you space? Do you want to go to grad school? Whatever it is... there is a lot that can get in the way of forming our requests. Perhaps you only feel brave enough to ask for half of what you want. Or maybe it seems easier to ask for what someone else thinks you should want. Maybe you've convinced yourself that you are incapable or unworthy of even making the request. There can be deep programming and 'stories' that smother our truest desires. So it's important to spend the time peeling back those layers to get at the core of what it is that you want. The more clear and direct your request, the more clear and direct the path of the boomerang that will answer it. So, get honest. Get crystal clear. Remove yourself from the expectations of others, and allow your ego to slip into submission. When you are blatantly honest with yourself, regardless of what others or you think is actually possible, what do you desire? When you are completely stripped down and free of fear (of judgement, of being seen, of rejection, of vulnerability), what do you want?
Whether you are asking for pleasure, clarification, advice, opportunity, or help, the requirements of asking are the same. Be clear and authentic about what you want, and capture it. Write it in a journal, pin it on your vision board, paste it on your bathroom mirror, share it with a confidant... adorn your mental and physical space with it. There may be bumps and turns along the way, and you don't want to lose sight of the raw, pure desire you've captured. So make sure you have multiple ways to be reminded and to refer back to it.
Now, the 'receiving.' Sounds like the best part, right?! The time when you get to sit back and reap all the benefits. The answer/help/fulfillment will show up in a perfectly wrapped package on your doorstep. Wrong. While, receiving is an awesome part of the process, you certainly aren't magically wiped clean of responsibility. Your attention and agency are required at this stage too.
If you ask for a love, but aren't willing to be vulnerability enough to receive it, what's the good in asking? If you ask for a new job, but feel unworthy of the position, what will receiving that feel like?
Receiving requires just as much vulnerability and honesty as asking. And it requires you to remain present and alert. That means no digging around in your past for examples of when you have failed, and no projecting onto the future you... since you don't have access to it. There will be hints and omens to take note of. You must keep your eyes peeled, your ears perked, and your intuition sharp. Don't let yourself get caught up in feelings of 'by now' ("it should have happened by now"). As the now-super-vulnerable asker, avoid judging or doubting yourself (and certainly don't let the skepticism from others color your intuition). You're the courageous, badass creator of your own life, remember? Refer back to the original request often. Ask yourself if it still rings true, and be reminded of what your soul asked for when you gave it the chance to be unleashed and expressed.
Be brave. Ask for it. And be ready as ever to receive it... whatever your it is.
[Something that I won't get into tonight, for the sake of brevity, is what makes it so hard for us to ask for what we want. Hint: it requires self-worth and vulnerability, and you can't selectively numb. If you want to continue on that mental hopscotch, you can refer back to one of my old posts on Worthiness, or watch one of my favorite TED Talks from Brené Brown: The Power of Vulnerability. I revisit this talk every couple of months, and it realigns my self-awareness each time I do.]