In our last blog I asked you to respond to the following questions.
1. What assumptions do you have about yourself that get in the way of making requests of others?
2. What assumptions do you have about others that get in the way of making requests of them?
3. What assumptions do you have about situations that get in the way of making requests of others?
Exploring what gets in the way of embracing request is one of the richest considerations for transformational living that I know. This exploration is a shortcut to discovering some of the deepest belief-system-drivers you have.
Thank you to all of you who responded. I am going to focus on one response in today’s post because I think it has so much to offer. I offer it to you in hopes it will stimulate further thought for you regarding this. I encourage you to stop for a few moments and consider this afresh for yourself.
Jenifer Thyssen replied in response to the above questions:
“I often feel my needs or desires are not legitimate in and of themselves. I feel an undercurrent of needing to affirm that, outside of myself, these are legitimate needs. So I look for ways to get agreement with others that what I need or want or even think, oftentimes, is ok. I don’t feel secure that I can ask for help, partly because I feel the trouble it brings to others to help me isn’t worth my need if I can’t legitimize it.
Another problem I struggle with in making requests is thinking that I am not right to make requests until I’ve completely exhausted every possible avenue of helping myself first. But then I get stuck with assuming I have never exhausted absolutely every avenue (because I know there are things either that have seemed too hard to try to do, but I know it would help my situation, or I know there are things I haven’t thought of yet that I feel like I should think of and do before making requests, and so I can’t ask for help.
Also, if there’s any tinge of my needs existing because of mistakes I’ve made, then I feel I don’t deserve help, and that I really just deserve wallowing in the consequences of my mistakes, whatever that has brought, I guess with no particular end to the suffering I “deserve” from my mistakes.
Then there’s just the feeling of me being too needy, that maybe I ask for help too often and so I can’t reach out again, sort of a self-imposed help request quota.
About others…they’re too busy, they have plenty of their own problems to deal with and don’t need to be burdened with my additional requests, they don’t think I have legitimate needs, they don’t judge I’ve done well enough to deserve help. My mistakes are causing my needs, so therefore I don’t deserve help.
Aside from assuming that my mistake-caused needs are illegitimate, I sometimes assume that in various situations, I am called to figure things out for myself. I don’t have a right to ask for help until I’ve exhausted everything provided around me to help myself, and only then can I ask for help.
I also feel like other people’s needs should be helped before mine, so if situations occur where I could ask for help, but someone else is asking for help, too, I don’t put forth my need sensing it would be at the cost of the other person receiving help.”
Thank you, Jenifer, for allowing me to pass on some of your thoughts! Much of what Jenifer said resonates with me also. It also spurred additional considerations for me that I hadn’t really thought about.
Making requests is an essential, fundamental building block of creating dynamic, authentic community. It is worth looking at deeper to see:
1. How to do it well.
2. Gain new awareness and clarity regarding what gets in the way of doing it well.