Lately, I’ve been investing a lot of time and energy into making sure that I ask for what I need.

You see, everything that we allow into our lives is there for one of two reasons: 1) because we have asked that it be there, or 2) because someone else has asked that it be there. You can ask for what you need directly, by saying something like, “I need you to pick me up after work tomorrow,” or, “I need your help with this.” But you can also ask with your actions.

How we choose to spend our time, for instance, is an ask, and the people that we choose to surround ourselves with is an ask. (When someone comes into your life, they are implicitly asking for your permission to remain there.)

What’s important to keep in mind, however, is that the vast majority of the asks that are made with our actions are not explicit — and, as a result, we need to constantly be mindful of what we are continuing to allow into our lives. If we don’t prioritize the things that we need, it’s incredibly easy for our lives to become overrun by the asks of others.

And so, these days, I take a great deal of care to ensure that I am prioritizing the things that I need. I need a lot of time to myself, and I need a large part of my day to be spent in quiet spaces. I need to surround myself with people who are present in a meaningful way and who demonstrate that I’m a priority to them. I need people who are supportive of both me and my work, and I need deep, open-hearted conversations.

Often times, we’re hesitant to ask for what we need. (Maybe it has something to do with wanting to be polite, or not wanting to come across as demanding.) But why would we ever be hesitant about something as critically important as our well-being?

Jana Marie is a Croatian-born writer living amidst the restorative embrace of the Canadian Prairies.

Through her writing, she examines the interplay between self and society as she works to both illuminate and explore the power of contemplative thinking. Her recently completed two-year project, 100 Mindful Days, which combines teachings from the worlds of personal development, self-care, and wellness, will soon be her first book.

If you’d like to hear from her more often, you can subscribe to her newsletter here.

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