Monday, July 14, 2014

The Inability to Ask for What You Want

A common core issue that people struggle with is the inability to ask for what they want. If you can't ask for what you want, generally speaking, you won't get it. Now, of course, I spend a lot of time helping people understand why they want what they want, but for this post, I'll assume you've done your work. You've drilled down past the outer defenses and socially trained responses to get the core of things. Maybe you've even touched the Truth (a spiritual opening or glimpse of awakening) or that Truth is now abiding within you (spiritual awakening).

Regardless, this is a post for the more advanced practitioner. This isn't about "manifesting" or "attracting" whatever you think you need to be happy. This is the superficial level that many spiritual seekers are caught at. They don't really know why they want what they want, so they keep looping around trying to manipulate themselves and the universe to give them stuff: six-figure jobs, soulmates, exotic trips, etc., etc. But the mature spiritual adult knows what is truly meaningful to them, and depending on where you are in your path, you may find that you have an incredible inability to ask for what truly matters to you.

Finding Out What Matters

Obviously, some of you won't really understand what matters to you, and to you, I encourage you to do your inner work. Part of that inner work involves:

  • Questioning cultural learnings such as you need a romantic partner, you need to make money, etc.
  • Looking at the life you've cultivated for yourself and your judgments around it (i.e. if you think you're succeeding, failing, or somewhere in between)
  • Move towards the inner Truth where you are already complete

That last one is crucial. Until you know your inner completeness, the tendency is to continue to "want" things to fill the gaps you feel that you have. But you are an infinite being. You do not have gaps--not in regards to what is important. And what is important is love. This matters. But you can't get to that point by mental understanding. You have to go through your inner process--whatever that may be--to fully realize that Truth in your heart, body, mind, and spirit.

The Remaining Core Beliefs

It's been my experience thus far that few people awaken so profoundly that all the old core beliefs and patterns are completely and irrevocably eradicated. Most of us seem to wipe out pieces or parts. Some people are thrust into detox phases and can't get to those deeper levels until the outer dis-ease (alcoholism, drugs, obesity and over eating, etc.) is addressed. In this way, we all journey through different levels and different issues at different times.

The journey into our core beliefs and the core ways we live our life is rarely a fun one. We have our most instinctual and reactive responses defending those places. It's where we've invested tremendous amounts of energy, and it's where we unconsciously continue to invest tremendous amounts of our energy. Thus, the energy we receive back when they release can be quite extraordinary. Simply imagine what it's like to run a marathon everyday because you think you have to. Now imagine that you suddenly stop. What do you think that might feel like? An example of this is if you have to be right all the time. Just notice all the places your life is infected with this need to be right. Look at how much energy you're expanding into that game. You may be shocked to find out just how much you've invested there once you take a deeper look.

The Hammer Hits the Iron

Hitting a core belief can be like hitting iron beam in a building. Everything in your body shakes and tremors. For those of you who have worked through a lot of issues already, this can be quite jarring. There's nothing quite like hitting a core, foundational issue. These things have been base of your whole life, and to see even more deeply that you've been living a lie or an illusion in such an extensive way is truly humbling. It doesn't matter if you are awakened or not. Running up against these core beliefs can feel like hitting a brick wall at first--and way harder than all those "hard" issues you dealt with first (unless you were dealing with an old physical trauma. Then there are going to be a lot of parallels).

The Many Masks of Core Issues

With the inability to ask for what you want, you may realize that this is a mask. It probably has been influencing all your relationships and your whole life in general, but this tends to be a deep-seated issue that is also masking even deeper core beliefs. One such belief that likes to hide down there is the idea "I am not worthy of what I want." Now, let's be clear; thinking your way to "worthiness" through affirmations and the like tends to be a very juvenile approach at this stage. Earlier on, it's super helpful. Why is that? It's because initially we need to get out of the funk of feeling terrible about ourselves just long enough to catch our breath to go back deeper into the darkness to see from where those terrible feelings are coming. But as we journey deeper, just saying that "I am worthy of love" and "I am love" will do little to no good. In part, it's because the affirmation is a retort to the core belief that you are not worthy of love. If that core lie does not exist, you do not need the affirmation.

Tracing the Origins of a Lie

As many of you know, I find it super helpful to trace the origins of these lies to go back to the moment when you went from being happy and full of love to believing that you weren't worthy of asking for what you want. Sometimes there's a defining moment. Sometimes, it's just years of gradually shutting down little by little through hundreds of tiny moments. Regardless, it tends to be super helpful for most people to follow things backward in their lives so that they can mentally, emotionally, and sometimes even physically feel all the old wounds and finally release them.

And it is important that each aspect is appreciated. You can't just say, "I know this already." If you are still struggling with asking for what you want, clearly you don't on some level. Something is still holding back. Something may still be sick and wounded. Perhaps it is still in your heart. Perhaps, you are working in your body awareness or the subtle energy field. Whatever it is, it needs your attention if you want to grow and be able give and receive naturally.

Because that's part of what is also at stake around the inability to ask for what you want: healthy giving and receiving.

Giving, Receiving, and Initiating

Most people have no idea what is important to you, and the few that do should not be expected to constantly have to guess and figure it out for you. It is important to state what is important to us, and then we have to see what comes back. This is part of the dance of giving and receiving. If we are too passive, there's all kinds of junk that the world likes to heap on us in terms of inappropriate receiving. In terms of inappropriate giving, we should not be to quick to assume that we know what other people need. Sitting in the crossroads of this world is asking for what you want. That lets those who want to give to you know what you have space for, and you'll also begin to set up boundaries towards some of the things you don't want in your life.

Because there are times in our lives for somethings and not for others. Sometimes, it's not time for the soulmate to show up in your life. Sometimes, it's not time to take on a new better paying job because of what may next be required of you. The more you know what you want, the more you also get a strong sense of when it's time for something to come into your life.

Discovering More Underlying Lies

The inability to ask for what you want can hide one or many core beliefs. Here are a couple of core issues to offer you some food for thought and starting points for going deeper. Because if you don't, some of the many wondrous relationships, experiences, and places will never be able to enter your life if you can't ask for them.

  • Scarcity fears. You may have grown up with the idea that your family doesn't have enough and asking for something wasn't appropriate or couldn't be provided to you. So why ask at all?
  • Lack of self-love. Since you're not worthy of love, are you really worthy of getting anything from anyone? So goes this diseased mentality.
  • Fear of being seen & getting hurt. You can't get rejected if you don't ask for something. Thus, hiding your interests is used as a protective measure against perceived verbal, emotional, and even physical threats. There are all kinds of hurts that we try to avoid. A fear of abandonment can be part of this too.
These are some good starting points, and many people will have all three and others that don't presently come to mind. See what resonates and start digging into them.

Opening Yourself Up to Receiving

Even as you've processed through a lot of this issue and its underlying core beliefs, it may not be easy at first to ask for what you want. Or maybe it will be. But if it's not, be patient. You are gradually coming into a more natural state of giving and receiving with the world. What you receive won't always be perfect or potentially even appropriate, so new ways of expressing yourself will also be required as you continue to get used to asking for what you want. Sometimes, you will have to say, "No thank you," even when you've expressed what you want. Not everyone knows how to give. But that's a topic for another blog post.

And yet, many people do know how to give. So in asking for something, you are allowing more and more people to show you many beautiful gifts that would otherwise never have come into your life. Be sure to be appreciative of these gifts as they are revealed to you. In this space, some relationships that have been dormant and unsatisfactory come alive as you can now fully engage in the dance of giving and receiving. Because with each gift shared to you, it becomes easier to ask others what they might like to receive and then to offer something back. Of course, not everyone else will have worked through this issue, so remember to be patient if you run across someone else who has an inability to ask for what s/he wants. Compassion is one of the subtle ways that we pass on the gifts and deeper knowledge that we have learned in facing our own inability to ask for what we want.
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