Suffering from Inability to Ask for Help?

Inability to Ask for Help: Rooted in Imagined Unworthiness & Fear of Losing Independence

Learning to ask with comfort reflects the ease with which you are at home in your heart with yourself and others. Inability to ask is usually rooted in your own imagined unworthiness, fear of losing independence, and specter of being dependent on others — barriers that keep you from being at home in your heart. Instead of building a wall around your heart's invitation to go deeper, your journey to oneness depends on cultivating the practice of asking.

I arrived in the United States with two suitcases, $1,000, and the prom­ise to be met at JFK airport by friends of Desmond Tutu. Their church wel­comed me and set up graduate school interviews for me, all because Tutu had asked them to. As I cobbled together scholarships and a student job, they generously offered to provide the financial bridge to cover the balance of the costs. All I needed to do was ask.

Struggling with Your Inability to Ask?

Struggling with my inability to ask, I visited Hays, the pastor of the church, and said, "It is incredibly difficult for me to ask for support; it is at odds with everything ingrained in me." He smiled and said, "Admitting that is a huge step. Your life has placed you in a community of people; imagine it as a gift exchange."

Responding to my puzzled look, Hays added, "Your being among us is a gift we learn from, and you hopefully learn from us — we need to be reminded that we need one another. We're able to offer financial support in gratitude for your being here — is gratitude so hard to live with?"

As I grappled with the implications of his words, I reflected on each of us being pilgrims and the striking image of the word from which it comes — agrum — meaning "through the fields." To be a spiritual pilgrim is to be in motion and community with others whom we choose or that life presents to us.

Soul-Searching: Disturbing Your Comfort Zone

Inability to Ask for Help: Rooted in Imagined Unworthiness & Fear of Losing IndependenceMy own discomfort and hesitancy about asking disturbed my comfort zone and led me to soul-searching the truth that we are made for connecting relationships. I was discovering what the journey through the fields meant.

You do not always feel privileged, safe, or worthy enough to ask, trust­ing or loved enough to ask. Yet your journey in the dance of asking is like your other practices — always unfolding and leading you deeper into the truth of who you are, discovered in the context of others.

Asking Something of Another is an Act of Faith

To ask something of another reflects the mindfulness being cultivated in you. To ask is a sign of your self-awareness, of being aware of another person with whom you become awake to life in a shared heart space.

To ask is to put yourself in the context of those you ask something of; asking is an act of faith and a spiritual practice whose mark is the delight you discover in the reciprocity of trust that emerges.

To ask is to be reminded that in trusted relationships you discover all that you need for this season on your journey to becoming fully human.

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Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
New Page Books, a division of The Career Press, Inc.
©2012 by Robert V. Taylor.

This article was adapted from the book:

A New Way to Be Human: 7 Spiritual Pathways to Becoming Fully Alive
by Robert Taylor.

A New Way to Be Human: 7 Spiritual Pathways to Becoming Fully Alive by Robert Taylor.From his miraculous physical healing as a teenager in Cape Town, to fighting apartheid alongside Desmond Tutu, to his eventual appointment as one of the United State's highest ranking, openly gay Episcopal priests, Robert Taylor's life shows anyone how to integrate personal spirituality with a legacy of compassionate purpose in the world -- and invites others to do the same. A New Way to Be Human is an invaluable guide for individuals intent on transforming their lives, revolutionizing our society, and refining our world.

Click here for more info and/or to order this book on Amazon.

About the Author

Robert V. Taylor, author of A New Way to Be HumanRobert V. Taylor is a nationally recognized leader, author, and sought after speaker who invests his life in helping individuals and organizations to realize their full human potential and impact in the world. Born and raised in South Africa, Robert saw firsthand the difference that could be made when oppressed people are given the freedom to discover their voices, trust their imaginations, and find the courage to be who they are. Robert continues to explore integrating personal spirituality and values-driven strategies with the question of how we each leave a footprint of compassion in the world -- both at home and in the corporate marketplace. Visit his website at

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