For a very long time, I never asked for anything, because the thought of hearing a "no" petrified me. I equated it to not being worthy, not being valued, not being loved. If I heard a "no," it would confirm my worst fears about myself. I spent a lot of time waiting around for people to offer. Most of the time, those offers never came.
The worst thing about this practice, I came to realize some time later, was that my fear of "no" was paralyzing me and in essence giving me that no anyway. I was saying "no" to myself every time I didn't ask for something, a "no" every time I did not speak up and state what I needed.
Once I realized the effect this had on my life and all of the things I was missing out on, I worked my ass off getting up the courage to ask for what I needed. It was, in the beginning, very painful. Every time I asked for anything I expected a "no." I would feel a burning in my gut, my heart would pound in my chest, and my hands and neck would get sweaty. I was a mess most of the time. But little by little, I got used to hearing no, as well as yes, and I realized that "no" was not so bad.
"No" ended up freeing me.
"No" is not the end of the world, and it is not death. It is the beginning of what is possible. It gives you one less option and frees you up to consider others. "No" is what you hear, very often, before the world opens up to you.
So, today, when my friend and I were discussing this, I realized I had worked too hard for the "no." I had put my heart into being okay with that answer. The reason I am able to ask for anything is that I am comfortable with "no." "No" is not the end of me. "No" is one more thing I have fought for, and something I will not give up. It is a lesson and a practice that has provided insight, courage and heart.
That is why I won't stop asking for what I want, or what I need. Because I am worthy of both yes and no. I have fought too hard to give myself the permission to ask. Why would I ever give that up?
How about you? Do you find yourself not asking for things? Are you afraid of "no"?
I challenge you to ask once this week, just once, for something you are afraid to ask for. See how it feels. Pay close attention to all the physical sensations associated with the question, and then the answer that comes. I guarantee you that no matter what happens, that "no" will not be the end of the world.
That "no" might just be the beginning.