My kitchen sink has trickled out a barely useable amount of water since I moved into my apartment 6 months ago. I mean like a 5 minutes to wash a dish or fill a water bottle drizzle. And in those 6 months, I never once thought seriously about calling my landlord to have it taken care of.
Then my brother came over last weekend and, after spending some time feeling like a clown trying to fill a glass of water, he said (as any reasonable person would), “Lissa, you should really call your landlord about that. That’s what’s so great about having a landlord – you can call ‘em and they just come fix stuff for you.”
And it was only then that the true absurdity of my putting up with this daily hassle for so long hit me. The next day, I called my landlord, and the day after that a very nice plumber came by and swapped an old filter out and got that sink running full blast in under 5 minutes.
After the plumber left, I turned on that sink and as I put my hand under the full flow of water I literally laughed out loud. Because this was indicative of how I’d lived the vast majority of my 33 years of life. Not asking for what I needed; feeling some combination of frustration, incompetence, helplessness and resentment; suffering silently, believing that things just were the way they were and nothing I could say would make them any better; better to keep quiet than to ask for what you want and risk being disappointed if the type of support you were secretly hoping for doesn’t turn out to be available for you.
But as the cumulative effects of a decade or so now of yoga, mindfulness, and a general ongoing inquisition of how my thoughts, emotions, physical body and actions behave and affect one another accrue, there’s been a shift.
At an event last year at the lovely Teahouse Studio someone was getting rid of a pile of word magnets. After sifting through them, the three words I walked away holding were Ask, For, and It. And I realized that that was my theme of the (ongoing) moment. I’d spent so much of my life hiding, not wanting or feeling willing to be seen, feeling unheard or like I didn’t have much worth hearing. That night I felt the power of those words in my hand, and I realized that as I’d finally started to step up and out as a coach and a woman and a human being in the last few years, that I was finally ready to start asking for it, whatever “it” happened to be.
The words (see below) live on my refrigerator – a daily reminder to speak up, get my truth out, allow myself to be seen and heard. Clearly it’s an ongoing process, and it still doesn’t come super naturally to me. I still have to make a conscious effort to ask for the support I need, and it still often feels awkward and embarrassing. But the sink incident reminded me of the power of doing something – anything - different to break free of old habits that no longer serve us and, one by one, day by day, replace them with words and thoughts and actions that do serve us, and by extension serve everyone we contact.
So I offer this post as a reminder to check in with yourself. What do you want right now? And are you willing to weather a little discomfort to get better acquainted with your voice, your power, your authentic Self, and ask for the support you need to help you get it? As we more consistently and confidently act from an understanding that our greatest strength lies in our vulnerability, we help others feel safe to be their authentic selves, just by being who we are and doing what we do.
It can sometimes feel like we’re in this whole life thing on our own. But we’re not – you’re not. You’re as supported as you allow yourself to be. So why not go ahead and ASK FOR IT?