I have a special evening ritual with my two young sons – giving them back tickles as they are settling into sleep.

These are the sort of very specific back tickle instructions they often give me:

Mum – will you snuggle into bed with me and give me back tickles?

…no – get all the way under the covers.

…use your nails, not your fingers.

…and your thumb.

…go all the way up to the back of my neck.

….and around the sides.

What I love most is the way my sons give me these instructions.

They speak in a gentle voice. There are is no pleading, no apologising. There is zero guilt. They are quite simply communicating exactly what they want in a way that clear, light and pure.

Those two kids are my greatest teachers.

Why do so many of us stop asking for what we need as adults?

Perhaps it’s because we have been conditioned to believe it’s selfish to be ‘needy’ – or worse, an inconvenience.

I often struggle to ask for what I need. And, I know I am not alone.

Not long ago, a woman fell on the footpath ahead of me. She must have said sorry five times as I was helping her to her feet. I also have an unfortunate tendency to apologise when I am in need of help.

Perhaps we have something we can learn from children when it comes to accepting help and asking for what we need.


This week I invite you to play with communicating what you need in a way that is clear and light. If you need a little help to do this, you might like to refer to this helpful needs inventory.


What you are here to reclaim, you had it once. You had it as that child who knew its might. Who had wonder, grace, presence, beauty, worth, significance. That child who could look at its reflection in the mirror and only see beauty, power and perfection. That child to whom it never once occurred that they were lesser than. That you had to become something to be happy. That you had to do something to prove your worthiness. You were that child who was complete, whole, significant, purposeful, connected, present. You were that child.

Dr Shefali Tsabary