In my family, we had the first ever bereavement when our first born brother passed on. I was just in my early teenage years. It hurt so bad! He was a great friend and playmate.
When he was ill for the first time, he got admitted to a Mission Hospital back in the village. My mum would be with him full time taking care of him at the hospital. The rest of us would go check on him at set visiting hours.
So there was this fateful day that I had to go see them. It rained so heavily that day. Given that the roads were not tarmacked then, the public transport vehicle I used dropped me about three kilometers from the hospital. I walked that distance. It was around Four in the evening.
I walked straight into the ward where my brother was admitted…lo and behold, he was not there! My mum was also not there! I feared the worst! You see, back then, we did not have cell phones to easily call and locate. I was a young boy barely 14 years of age, and I was thoroughly scared!
So what do you think I did? I walked home in stunned silence…knowing full well the worst had happened. I did not dare talk to the nurses and ask them anything about the whereabouts of my brother. I mean, why would the ward he occupied be empty?
Honestly, I feared greatly that the nurses would confirm my suspicion. So I walked home and told nobody of my findings. I remained tensed the whole evening. I started waiting…back then, a death would be announced by loud shrieks of mourning women. I waited for those terrifying mourns the whole night, tossing back and forth. I must have dozzed off once or twice…and soon, one of the most difficult nights of my young life ended.
Morning came, and with it my mum. She seemed Ok…she was not alarmed. So everything was fine. I narrated to her my ordeal the past evening. Mother and son exchanged those ‘knowing looks’…that story has never been shared with anybody until today…as far as I can remember.
But here is the deal: I could just have as well asked the nurses! Granted, they could have confirmed my fears…they could also have dispelled them. One way or another, I would have faced my worst fears sooner and save myself the emotional turmoil! Why postpone the worst?
Today, I am briefly addressing the fear of asking. A young man is afraid to ask his dream girl out because he is afraid that she will say no. A young salesman is afraid of meeting the Manager because he is afraid that the sale will not be effected.
A CEO refuses to face the brutal facts about the revenue of his company because he is afraid that news will cause him to make painful changes.
Why on earth do people get scared of asking? I submit it is because they are afraid of exploiting what seems to be their only option available. They think that when they exploit that option AND GET THE DREADED NO, they will be right back on square one.
Square one needs lots of energy to move away from. It always is a place of serious discomfort. No one wants to be there. Therefore, psychologically, we ‘mirage’ the asking. We put it forward. We kind of hold onto it (the not asking) like our best kept secret. This provides a psychological safe haven of the thought that the option will still be always available to be exploited. It is kind of like an insurance.
So, we stay in that ‘Potential’ State yet me move not even an inch.
When afraid to ask, remember that the best you can do right now is ask
When afraid to ask and you do not ask, you are increasing your chances of defeat
When afraid to ask, acknowledge the fear, but go ahead and ask anyway.
You will save yourselves lots of time, emotions and energy that is otherwise wasted on the ‘illusion’.