By Carol Traulsen
When was the last time you felt comfortable asking for help, advice, or directions? As a writer and a naturally curious person you would think that it would be easy for me. Not so. I break out in a sweat, I mutter to myself under my breath as rehearse what I am going to say, and I always worry what I will do if my request is refused. When I was younger it was easy to admit when I needed help. I was child and no one expected me to know everything. With age is supposed to come wisdom. But life has changed so quickly, there is no way to keep up unless we share information and ask for what we need. Even though the Internet has proved an invaluable resource, we still require advice and guidance from another human being.
As we go through life we yearn, we want, we desire, but we don’t ask. We don’t lay it on the line and really ask for what we want. We don’t ask because we are afraid somebody will say “no.” It doesn’t matter who. It could be our God, our spouse, our inner selves. When wishful thinking brings us no closer to the realization of our dreams we feel we’ve been denied. So as time goes on, we choose not to ask, but we still wish, we still yearn. Most of us exist in state of constant deprivation.
Asking is risky. It comes with no guarantees. Who is to say that all we ask for or any of what we ask for will be granted? If we don’t get what we want, how can we screw our courage up to ask again when each request has been met with stony silence or disapproval? I don’t know the answer to that. I only know that if we don’t ask, we haven’t got a chance of fulfilling our dreams. If you’re proud, start small. Ask a friend where she got her great dress. Ask your spouse for alone time. Ask your boss for a day off. Ask for Divine Wisdom, ask for a sign, while you’re at it ask for a miracle or two. Really. What could it hurt?
Ask for patience, ask for understanding. Don’t be too proud to ask for help or directions if you need them. How many of us have labored for hours over a project because we were too proud to admit we didn’t understand the instructions we were given? For some reason, we just assume that once we hit a certain age we are supposed to know it “all.” I don’t know about you, but that’s more pressure than I care to live with. I don’t have all the answers. This is not to say I am incapable of making a decision. I know when to listen to my own instincts. I believe knowing when to ask for guidance is just as important. How can we always know the right thing to do if we have never had this particular experience before? There are books, websites, and experts to consult. We live in the age of information, make use of it. The answer you seek could be a few clicks away.
If I had to pick favorite resource, I still prefer the human kind. Ask someone whose judgment you trust. Ask with passion. Ask with enthusiasm. Yes, it means making yourself vulnerable. But if you never make your thoughts, problems, dreams, or passions known, how can you solve or fulfill them? I know we hate to admit ignorance, and we really hate to fail. But if we make it a habit to ask, it hurts less when we are denied, and we are more ready to ask for directions when we are lost. We are less likely to fail if we have help, guidance, and enough information to make an informed decision. I used to drive my father crazy with questions as a child. He answered me patiently, knowing that my curiosity and passion would serve me well later in life. He was right. Now whenever I feel lost or need guidance, I know the answer is close at hand. All I have to do is ask.