The Unfulfillable Ask


What is your ask of the world?

What is your ask of your spouse or partner?

Of your children, parents or siblings?

Of your clients or customers?

Of your colleagues or employer?

Of your bank manager or landlord?

What is your ask of politicians?

Of individuals or groups?

Of businesses?

Of health-care providers?

Of your pets?

Of God, nature or the universe?

What is your ask?

It’s important to know.

Our ask is our most powerful means for navigating our lives and for interacting with others.

It can be the laser that cuts through confusion, prejudice, insanity and harm - changing the shape of the world.

It can be the spotlight under which lies, obstacles and limitations are seen for the falsehoods they are and instantly disappear.

It can be the expression and fulfilment of our deepest desires and the access point to an abundant reality.

It can be our most authentic truth and our most powerful stand.

However, it can also be the source of our greatest frustration, stress, disappointment and conflict.

It can be where the insanity of our lives plays out. An inner war waged to the destruction of all involved.

When our needs are not met, when our voice isn’t heard, when our desire is trampled over we feel ourselves shrink into the background. Our lives get smaller and our voice gets quieter.

Or we fight harder. We shout louder and still no one hears us. Our energy is used up in this battle for change whether it is being waged over a sink full of dirty dishes or on the global stage. We feel exhausted and depleted.

We feel misunderstood and mistreated, angry at the world and the person or people. Resentment kicks in. Helpless and hopeless, it is a return to our feelings as a child of being ignored, laughed at or shouted down.

Why is our ask of the world not immediately supplied with everything requested?

Here are three core reasons:

#1: The asker is not really the asker

This might already sound ridiculous. ‘I’m just me’ you might be thinking. ‘How can I not be the asker when I am asking the question?’

The thing is, this ‘I’ we think we are is not what we are. It is a collection of all the wounds, conditioning, learning of lack, limitation. It is the layers of every trauma we have undergone and it results in an identity that is made of fear, shame, need and insecurity. When our voice is not heard and our ask goes unanswered it is because the asker is the child within us. The child whose needs were not met, whose fears were not listened to, whose shame and insecurity was exacerbated by the people whose role it was to help it be understood and processed. It is the young child or adolescent wanting the bullies to stop, or the mum to stop drinking or the dad to stop disappearing.

When we feel needy and resentful, when the fulfilment of our ask takes on the weight of survival - it is a child speaking, using the only means of communicating it has available - attention seeking, sulking, tantrumming, pleasing, manipulating.

#2: The person being asked is not really the person being asked

Another ‘what the hell are you talking about?’

Because of course it looks like the person in front of us - our partner, colleague, boss, son, daughter, whoever - is who we are asking.

But, when the ask is coming from the unhealed child within us, the external world is a projection of the fears, shame, insecurity and needs of that child.

In these moments, the people in our life cannot seen for who they really are. They are the representatives of figures from our past. It looks like securing the presence, attention, love, respect or compliance of these people in the present will fill the void that we have been seeking to fill all our lives.

This projection onto the people in our present only serves to create more distance, resentment and separation. We cannot reach them and they cannot reach us.

#3: The ask is not really the ask.

When the conditioning of fear, insecurity, shame and need are playing out, the ask is never how it appears on the surface. It is always a camouflage for something else. In our courses we call these asks the ‘Trojan Horse’.

In the epic poem by Virgil, the Trojan Horse was a wooden horse that the Greeks built and left outside the city of Troy as an apparent surrender gift. The Trojans, delighted that the siege was over, brought the horse inside the city walls. During the night, while the city was sleeping, the Greek soldiers hidden in the belly of the horse emerged, flung open the gates for the returning Greek army which could then easily capture the city.

Our equivalent of the Trojan Horse is the ask that on the surface appears as something very clear to which a reply could be yes or no.

Please tidy the kitchen.

Please pay my invoice.

Please go out with me.

Please read this blog post.

On the inside though it is something else altogether. It is the play out of anger, hurt, betrayal. It is the attempt to secure the identity, to find home, to be loved, safe, approved of. This need was created in the past, in trauma, shocks to the system, in instability, uncertainty. Trying to fulfil this need is the futile, unfulfillable task that can take us to our graves. It can never be met. It can only be understood, recognised, healed and integrated.

No wonder our ask goes unheard, unrecognised and inevitably unfulfilled. The good news is that the ask is the most important portal of our lives. I often ask my clients, ‘If we had a magic wand what would we do now. What would we create? What would change?’.

Never allow an exploration of reality to deny or silence the ask that is deep within you. It is way too precious for spiritual bypass. Defining what we want is the process in which the past is healed, the present is revealed for what it really is and the future potential is unlocked.

It doesn’t get better than that.


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