It’s Okay to Ask for Love

“Human life runs its course in the metamorphosis between receiving and giving.” ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This past week I simultaneously experienced some of the strongest physical pain and immense joy I have ever experienced. While the former has everything to do with the six-inch incision in my abdomen, the latter revolves around a number of lessons about willfully receiving.

As I wrote last week, I had my myomectomy surgery on Tuesday to remove a soccer ball-sized growth in my uterus. On Monday, it occurred to me I’d appreciate reading uplifting notes from the community, but a part of me wondered if it would be tacky to explicitly ask for them.

After all, I’d already received many emails from concerned readers who took the time to reach out. Furthermore, I’ve always written that this site is not about me; would it really be wise to dedicate an entire post to seeking attention and support?

Despite my concerns, I decided to do just that, because I knew it would make me feel good. That it did, when I realized on Wednesday that hundreds of people had commented on my blog post, sharing stories and links to videos that made them smile.

That same day, when my doctor came to see me in the hospital, she looked at me with kind eyes and a loving smile, and came close to give me a hug. Despite my post-operative frailty, she gave me a real one—the kind that felt strong and just long enough to mean something. I simply melted into it.

The next day when she visited again, and came in close to my bed, I put my arms up, assuming it was for the same reason—but it turned out she was just checking my scar.

It occurred to me later that I must have looked like a 5-year old reaching out for her mother to pick her up. Despite my vulnerable sense of awkwardness, that actually made me smile. I was not ashamed of enjoying what she’d given!

It also made me smile that my actual mother flew out to be there for me. She was there my first night in the hospital and stayed through Sunday morning to assist with everything from getting dressed to cleaning my sinks.

This one was a little tough for me. I’ve been on my own since I graduated from school, and I’ve rarely asked my family for anything. It’s been a big part of my need to prove my independence: I decided early on that I’d never ask for help.

Considering how often I needed it, this was a rough decision. I carried the weight of heavy emotions alone for years; and I lived in some dangerous conditions just to prove to myself I could move past them on my own.

Despite having my mother here to help with anything and everything, I found myself playing host to her—asking if she wanted a cup of tea, or offering to get her a blanket.

She had come to take care of me, and yet I blatantly rejected it at times.

So in much the same way I didn’t consider refusing the flowers and support my boyfriend gave me, I decided to accept her every offer with gratitude and humility. I didn’t need to feel helpless, or apologize for needing assistance, or even the score by doing things for her.

My job was simply to accept every ounce of love that people were sending my way. Turns out sometimes it’s okay for things to be all about me.

So this is my thank you for the kindness you gave me. I asked for what I needed and I felt love in every direction this week. And though I’ve willingly taken the painkillers my doctor has prescribed, that I’ve learned, is the best prescription for healing.

Photo by pinkismagic

About Lori Deschene

Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha and Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love. Her latest bookTiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal, which includes 15 coloring pages, is now available for purchase. For daily wisdom, follow Tiny Buddha on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram..

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  • I hope you are doing well & heal fast! I have had similar experiences & struggle with asking for help at times, thank you for sharing. Sending much love your way. 🙂

  • Glad the surgery went well. Thanks for everything you do on this blog!

  • Very moving post. I’m happy to hear you are doing well. 

  • God bless with deep healing and much love. Take care

  • A beautiful, inspiring example of receiving, Lori! Sending healing thoughts your way –

  • rose

    So happy you are accepting all the love, kindness coming to you.  We Moms want to help our kids, regardless of age or circumstances.  It makes us feel needed.  we want to extend love.  Lots of Love to you for your daily words of wisdom.  

  • Linnaeab

    We who are independent women, AND givers may find it hard to ask for help and to receive.

    For me, rejecting help is a life long habit: it is automatic Not asking for help is supported by my beliefs of generosity and kindness.

    However, if I turn my beliefs around by asking for help or receiving another’s kindness, this is also a generous and kind act … because it allows others to be generous, kind, giving. This makes them feel good, creates positive karma, is an example that may inspire other’s who witness it, and increases the energy of “love-all-around” in the world. Everyone benefits from that.

    If any of us were in a desert, unfamiliar with the ways of survival, wouldn’t we accept a native’s offer of water or the inside of a cactus to nourish us, and keep us alive?

    Accepting generosity and kindness is the same. It is accepting the love others have for us, whether it is love for us personally (out of friendship) or love for us as a fellow human being (who is yet unknown). It keeps us alive!

  • Linnaeab

    So happy the surgery went well, and that soccer ball got kicked into the goal!

    I love hearing about your naturalness in stretching your arms out to recevie a hug. Stretch them out again, right now, as I am hugging you and holding you firmly and gently for as long as you wish!

    deep fondness for you!

  • prestonc

    Dear Lori,

    So glad to hear that you are better and back in the saddle again. Thanks for sharing. Please stay healthy.

  • sunny

    Hi Lori!

    I couldn’t help but laugh at your arm-raising scene 😉 sweet.

    But, dear lord! the size of a soccerball..?!?! that’s big. Good to read you are ok.
    The rest of your story (the don’t need anyone part) I can relate to as well. What crazy “ideas” we can have sometimes 😉

    Be well, take your time.

  • This is such an important lesson for independent people. I had a similar experience and one of my friends told me “You’re not a very good friend”   I was stung.  “In what way?” I asked. “You never let anyone help you and that is an important part of friendship”
    I realized then I was being selfish in not letting people share their love and compassion and that I was clinging to pride and ego.

    When it comes to social media, people are not looking for information, they are looking for the connections they have in common. The MOST interesting part of a blog is the person writing it. Never hold back from connecting with your readers..

  • Much Love Lori, sending you healing energy

  • Samantha

    I’m so happy to hear you’re doing well and you were able to accept love and comfort! That has been something I have struggled with a lot: I pride myself on being independent and don’t like to trouble other people. But last week I was sick and I made myself call my mom and ask for soup. It was so, so nice to let someone else love me for a minute and my mom appreciated it and we had a nice afternoon together. Thank you for your post; it confirmed a lot of what I was feeling. I’m thinking of you and wishing you the best recovery!

  • Susan Viera

    I’m soooo glad that everything went well ! Even though I know that you picked good hands to be in – I was still worried about you as I am a worrier over people I care about :~)
    I am relieved and happy – thank you again for sharing.
    Susie from Boston

  • Maggie

    Thank you so much for your transparency in your blogs. Most everyday when I read them, I feel that you’re writing them just for me and it’s like God is talking to me through you.
    I hope that you’re healing well and on the mend.
    Much love to you!!!maggie chickey

  • Linda H.

    Lori, Wish I could give you a big hug!  I’m glad you are on the road to good health!  Linda

  • Lv2terp

    I am so glad that you stepped out of your comfort zone and reached out knowing that the results would help you.  I am glad that you received what you needed, then to turn around and write to all of us about your gratetude…you are an inspiration and such an eloquent writer!!! I am so please you are doing well and that you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable and accept the love and kindness from your support system!! 🙂  CHEERS!

  • Samir

    Hi Lori,

    I’m happy your surgery went well. I’m sending positive thoughts towards you and hope you’ll be back on track very soon.

    Thank you for sharing with us such deep and uplifting thoughts.

  • Glad to hear everything is getting back to healthy normal. 
    Keep your good work up! :*

  • Thanks so much Emily! I’ve always had this fear of appearing selfish, and so I’m tempted at times to do everything on my own, but I’m so glad I asked for what I needed this week. I’m sending much love back to you. =) 

  • Thanks so much Uzma. =)

  • Thanks so much Rose! I can’t wait to be a mother some day so I can do the same. Lots of love right back to you. =)

  • That’s such a great point linnaea! I know I feel good when I help other people, so why not give them that same satisfaction? Thank you for sharing your kindness, generosity, and wisdom. =)

  • LOL yes it did indeed get kicked into the goal! I originally thought it was about the size of a grapefruit, so I was shocked to see the photo they took. They had to cut it into many pieces to take it out. What a relief to finally have it out! I’m looking forward to lying on my stomach in yoga again, once I heal. 

  • Thanks so much. I think I’m recovering nicely so far! =)

  • I’m so glad you are recovering from your surgery. The lessons never stop, do they? 🙂 This is such a beautiful post about the power of asking for what we need and then being willing to receive it. I, too, struggle with this and honestly spend each day reminding myself that it’s okay to need others and lean on others. It’s part of the ebb and flow of life – one day you’ll be the strong one for someone, and the next day they will be the strong one for you. I’m sending you lots of healing love and a big huge hug!

  • LOL yes it was a funny moment. And yes it was massive! They took a picture of it once it was out. They had to break off many pieces before they could remove it, and it’s just shocking to realize what I’ve been carrying around inside me! 

    Thank you for the well wishes. I’m taking it easy, and it feels good. =)

  • Thank you Rytis. Much love right back to you. =)

  • That’s great you reached out to your mom like that Samantha! I know what you mean about troubling other people. Originally, I felt horrible asking my mother to take time off of work and fly 3,000 miles to stay with me–especially since it was her first time in LA and she spent most of it indoors. But I think she was happy to do it, much like your mother appreciated caring for you. Thanks so much for the well wishes. I hope you’re feeling better as well!

  • Thanks so much Susie! I wouldn’t want you to have to worry, but I’m so touched and grateful that you thought of me. =)

  • That’s wonderful to know Maggie, that my blogs help you in that way! I am indeed healing well, slowly but surely. Much love to you as well. =)

  • Thank you Linda! I wish I could accept that hug and give you one right back! =)

  • Thanks so much! They did help quite a bit. I know the nurse thought I was a little nuts when I asked her to hand me my laptop, but seeing the response on my post gave me such a huge boost of energy and joy! Thank you again. =)

  • Thanks so much Samir. I appreciate the positive thoughts!

  • Thanks so much Kantan! I’m so glad this is behind me and now I can move forward, a little healthier and wiser. =)

  • Thank you Todd! Running the site really brings me so much joy. Thank you for being part of the community here. =)

  • Thank you so much!

  • Thanks so much Amanda. I always think of you when I open up to receiving!

  • That’s awesome your friend felt comfortable enough to tell you that. I know I haven’t always been a great friend, and I’ve realized over these past few years that I needed to find a balance between taking care of myself and leaning on other people. 

    That’s a great point about social media. It’s interesting because a big part of my writing centers around authenticity and connection; and I can see over the past three years how I’ve gradually become more authentic and begun connecting more fully.

    Thank you for the encouragement. =)

  • Glad you’re on the upswing.  I was so taken by all the comments and beautiful tributes to you.  Isn’t it so wonderful and uplifting to KNOW you are making such a huge difference in people’s lives!!  I think to myself how I wish for a teeny tiny percent of the impact you clearly make upon so many through your website/blog.  How many can say they see so clearly the good they’re doing for others – such a gift to know in one’s lifetime.   

  • This from today’s DailyOm: “There are so many ways to incorporate touch in our daily lives, one of the easiest being a heartfelt embrace. Just making a point to hug someone on a daily basis and really feel our energy pass between each other can strengthen the
    bonds that keep us together. Hugs help us heal any hurt or upset we may have
    recently experienced by letting us release into the moment of the embrace and
    realize that no matter what happens to us, we have someone in our lives who
    supports and cares for us.” am glad to see you had your arms up for the hug. Of all many things I DO miss in my solitude, I believe the greatest is personal touch. Today’s blog entries (another at’s site, “Seven Wonders of the World”) are serving to remind me of that dearth. Happy Healing, Lori.

  • My pleasure. I love your site and I curate your content often at I hope you enjoy the reference links and the access to my readers…

  • Shagun

    Sending you positive thoughts a plenty! Hope you feel better soon.

    I’m fiercely independent myself. I understand how difficult it is to be the love-recipient, advice-taker instead of always having it together & figured out! Sometimes it’s a nice feeling to let go and be goddamn greedy for love! Here’s some 🙂

    Love your blog, it’s my pocketful of sunshine!

  • Sashabla

    Thank you for always sharing your insightful wisdom.  THe older I get the more clear the reason we are here becomes!
    Hoping you are feeling a little stronger with each passing day Lori.

  • Thanks for the links Mark! There’s nothing like a good long hug. =) May I ask: Why are you in solitude?

  • Thanks so much Sashabla! I do feel like I’m getting a little stronger every day, mentally and physically. Sending lots of love to you. =)

  • I have a life to match yours in climbing from the depths, as it were. Social interaction where I currently live is minimal and personal space just hasn’t yet broadened enough to offer the spare room. I have a many-chambered heart, still undergoing renovation.

  • Tmont_619

    Another wonderful and meaningful message Lori. Thank you and so glad you are doing well!

  • Thanks so much. I am indeed doing well. =)

  • Thanks so much Shagun! I love that you referred to the site as your pocketful of sunshine. I love that song. Happy Monday =)

  • I was taken too! Sometimes I forget that I impact so many people, and it was a nice reminder that I am not alone with my struggles. I am sure you have a large impact, Harriet, and not just through your writing, but also by walking your walk. Your advice about finding ways to do things made a huge impact on me. So often, I’ve said no to the little things without realizing they are the big things. You inspired and continue to inspire me. =)

  • Thanks so much Jodi! I love what you wrote about the natural ebb and flow of life. It’s so true. There’s a balance, if we’re willing to give some and take some, lean and be leaned on. I’m sending you lots of love right back, and happily accepting that big huge hug!

  • Jenn

    So glad you are doing well.. Your posts are amazing and touch every part of my life…Thank you…

  • Thanks so much Jenn. I’m so glad they touch you in that way!

  • Mclou2633

    Hi Lori…I love your posts and this one hits me hard, but not for the same reasons.  Like a lot of people that have commented, I attributed the lack of willingness to accept gifts as a sign of independence.  But as my meditation practice has matured and I have been able to explore the root of what I am feeling, my lack of willingness to accept gifts came from deep seated feelings of not feeling worthy to receive them.  I used “my declaration of independence” as a shell to protect myself from vulnerable feelings of unworthiness. Being able to accept all parts of myself and love the person inside has lubricated the friction that blocked the flow of love both in receiving gifts and giving them.  With that said, you are a light into this world…never stop being you!!!!

  • A many-chambered heart…that’s beautiful. I hope you have some opportunities for social interaction in the near future!

  • That’s a powerful insight, about not feeling worthy. I know I’ve battled with those same feelings throughout much of my journey, so perhaps that’s been the root of my need to prove my independence, as well. Thank you for the food for thought…and the beautiful compliment!

  • Matthew

    ” I carried the weight of heavy emotions alone for years”

    What you shared here goes way beyond what you shared here.  All the silent hours over such a long time. 

    “It occurred to me later that I must have looked like a 5-year old reaching out for her mother to pick her up.”

    This image is really clear in my mind.  You know how they say a picture’s worth a thousand words? 

    Being able to ask for love now, with a history of independence like that; emotionally, the idea of that feels like a baby learning how to take its first steps.  It’s a pretty touching moment. Maybe you grew up so fast you ran before you walked and never learned how to let someone hold your hand. 

    I’m glad you decided to open up, and I just wanted to be part of the celebration here.  That’s what I think of it as, anyway; like a circle of people standing around who’re happy that you’re alive, and happy that you are who you are.  Like a birthday party.  You deserve it!

    “It occurred to me later that I must have looked like a 5-year old reaching out for her mother to pick her up.”

    Had to quote it again…I love that.  That one’s definitely going into the memory banks. 

    Here’s a cyber hug, wishing you the best =) 

  • Thanks so much Matthew–for the insights, your kindness, and the cyber hug! I actually got goosebumps reading your comments, because you’re right–I did grow up pretty fast, and I did spend so many silent hours alone. 

    Opening up in this way feels like a huge wave of peace and comfort washing over me. And as for the circle metaphor, I can’t even explain how amazing that is to me. Thank you for reminding me I deserve it. =)

  • Artemisathenalee

    Great post Lori! 

    Hope you are recovering quickly! Rest up and keep us posted! I love love love this blog. It reminds me to keep my head up despite what life throws at you. Thank you for sharing your inner thoughts with us!  Bless your soul, sending lots of love over!Artemis

  • Sweet Lori, 

    First off Sending you so much love and light during this healing time. I completely get how someone like you, whose entire existence is about giving, can feel resistance to making things about you. And yet, for the countless numbers of people who have been touched by your enormous heart, this provides them with an opportunity to feel the same joy you feel when you give so generously. May this experience continue to be a teacher and allow your soul to open even more to letting others care for you.

    All my love


  • Thanks so much Artemis! I am indeed recovering well–and I’m so glad the site is helpful to you. =)

  • Thanks so much Bernardo. I’m truly touched to know I’ve impacted this many people, and that so many people care about me. Sending all my love back to you. =)

  • Connie

    You’re back!!!

    I’ve been patiently waiting to receive an email in my inbox signalling you’re up and running. I’ve missed you your posts.

    This really speaks to me Lori for I am not independant, but fiercely independant which at times has caused me more bad than good. I’m not used to asking for help and just try and do things myself which looking back has been detrimental to my life and health.

    When I became so depressed that I could not even get out of bed in November of last year, my sweet son sensed I was on a downhill spiral and moved into the caretaker role, making me breakfast, cleaning, making sure I ate, took my medicine and checked on me (I’m tearing up just writing this), at nineteen he witnessed more than I wanted him to. I had no choice but to accept the help, this caused a chain reaction because in doing so I was able to reach out and ask for help from friends who were waiting in the wings for me.

    I’m still taking steps to ask for help, it is not an overnight awakening but does take time to accept it is more than okay to feel vulnerable and that others will be there for you.

    Again, I’m so happy that you are on the mend and up and running 😀

  • I’m wishing you a speedy recovery! I think it’s wonderful that you reached out to your readers. We all need love.

  • Anneka

    sending you my smile to use, my love to feel and a hug to share. my thanks to all who support and give freely here for you. I may never meet you face to face but simply knowing there is a deep well of positivity out there inspires me daily.

  • Thank you so much for the beautiful note Anneka. Sending you love and a hug right back!

  • Thanks so much Sage! I’m so glad I did. =)

  • Thanks so much Connie! I’m glad to be back. 

    How wonderful your son was there for you in this way, and that it also led you to accept help from friends. It sounds like there are a lot of people who love you. It’s a nice to feeling to realize we are never alone, and there are people who care. =)

  • Abhi

    That was a brilliant post do you come up with so many posts in such short notices?? thanks a ton!!

  • Joice

    Have a nice recovery, Lori!  Big hugs for you!!

  • Thanks so much. =) Writing is my favorite creative outlet, so I love being able to write so frequently! 

  • Thanks so much Joice. Big hugs back! =)

  • Manda

    Lori, am so glad to hear you are recovering and even in your recovering message you are still giving us loving and sound advice ~ thank you for being you and hope your healing continues well.

  • Hugs and kisses to you, Lori.

  • Thanks so much Manda. What a lovely comment. =) I appreciate your kind words!

  • Thanks Monna. Hugs and kisses back to you. =)

  • I’m so sorry I didn’t know about the surgery Lori.  I’ve been so wrapped up in the new website I’m just now trying to catch up.

    I’m glad you’re on the mend.  I think this post is so important for so many of  us.  I have never been comfortable feeling ‘needy’.  Most often it’s not being needy it’s just about being willing to let others do for you what you gladly and willingly would do for them.

    Feel better each day! xob

  • Cory P.

    Wow, that’s a tough pill to swallow. I’m very stubborn in the same sense that by accepting help I feel I’ve failed myself. It’s very hard to “let” somebody do something for me simply because they’d like help. And your friend’s point that helping is an important part of friendship really makes sense when looked at from her perspective. I can see that by not letting my friends help it may seem like I’m always pushing them away. Definite food for thought going forward. Thanks for sharing!

  • Megan

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts, Lori, especially at a fragile time. It is indeed hard to ask to for help, even at those times when the body is unwell or not as capable. When I went though some heartbreak last year, I flat-out asked friends for their support, something I had never done when going through a break-up or rough spot. I got that and more in return, and realized how blessed I am. 

    I wish you even more joy as the healing continues!

  • No worries Barbara! I really appreciate your kind words. I’m thrilled that I’m starting to feel a lot better. I don’t like feeling needy either; and yet, ironically, I was so needy for so long. I just didn’t realize it.

    I hope things are going well with your new site. =)

  • That’s wonderful you asked for and received the support you needed Megan! 

    Thank you for the well wishes. I felt an immense sense of relief to feel so much love around the time of my surgery. I remember when I moved apartments several times in New York and San Francisco, I did literally everything by myself: rented trucks, packed them, drove them, and unloaded my stuff. I just never felt like I should or could ask people for help. It kind of feels like night and day to look back on how isolated I was, and recognize how connected I feel now. That’s really what I’m most grateful for at this point in my life. =)

  • This post reminds me so much of an interview I listened to with SARK yesterday. She said that women in particular graduated with honours when it comes to giving, but we’re still in kindergarten learning how to receive. It’s so hard to accept love and attention sometimes, but I’m so glad you learnt that asking for help is nothing we should be ashamed of. Other people love to give, and sometimes we need to receive.

    Also, I’m glad you’re on the mend 🙂

  • Thanks so much Rebecca! It helps me to remember how much I enjoy helping other people. I’ve finally realized that if I don’t receive, I deprive the people who care about me of that same joy.

  • Kathy

    Lori – thank you for all your words of wisdom.  I stumbled upon Tiny Buddha 8 months ago and have made it regular reading ever since.  I have sent links to this site to family and friends and we have all benefited.  I love your book and now have my 22 year old daughter reading your insightful comments on love and relationships.  

    A dear friend pointed out several months ago that I was being selfish when I did not share my sorrows and burdens.  He said that being true friends means giving and taking, supporting and leaning upon others.  What I specialize in doing is fixing and caring, NEVER asking for help, admitting weakness nor, heaven forbid, accepting help.  Once I realized that one-sided relationships are less fulfilling I have tried to ask for help; this is tough for us fiercely independent souls.  Good for you to accept help and love and support.  You give so much in your writings – time for you to graciously accept kindness and support.

  • Thanks so much Kathy. That’s wonderful your friend pointed that out to you, and that you’ve deepened your friendship as a result.

    I think I decided many years back that taking was a bad thing, because when I was younger I was in a lot of unhealthy relationships and I took so much. It’s been a beautiful journey, coming to understand what healthy give and take looks like. 

    I’m so glad you and your daughter have enjoyed the site and my book! =)

  • Anneig

    Job well done…you got a fear-of-receiving-ectomy too!

  • Thanks so much! I did indeed. =)

  • Riverofgratitude

    Sometimes the greatest prayer & love can only come from asking. We would never know if you didn’t ask for special well wishes, LOVE, & prayer. Power of intentions, & ask & you shall receive. It’s amazing what love can come your way just for the asking. My prayers, hope, & love are with you! ~Rene’e

  • Thanks so much Rene’e! I love that you chose the name “River of Gratitude.” What a beautiful idea. =)