Sometimes, being brave is easier with a friend. If I’m doing something way, way out of my comfort zone, for instance, or if I have to do something complicated. But, for me, it takes courage just to reach out. It’s an act of bravery to put myself out there in the first place. Putting myself out there opens me up to rejection, and rejection is like a message from the universe. Rejection feels like an acknowledgment that all my worse fears about myself are true: I’m unlikeable. I’m inherently unworthy. I’m funny looking.
I’ve discovered something over the past couple of years, though. It was a pretty big deal for me, so I’d like to share it with you. You know what happens when people reject you? Nothing.
I mean, you feel bad for a little bit. Your brain tries to call you names. But then you forget about it. You move on. You keep living.
I made this remarkable discovery when I moved to a new city and found myself having to make new friends. For my sake, yes - I’m an introvert, but I’m also one of those people who need people. I’m the luckiest people. But, also for my son’s sake. My son forces me to open myself up A LOT! I’ve called up strangers and asked them for a play dates. I’ve introduced myself to that neighbor with the five-year-old down the street. I joined the PTA.
But this time, it isn’t about my son. It’s about me, and it’s harder to take rejection when it’s so…personal.
This next adventure I’m planning is sort of a doozy. I’ve gotten it in my head that I want to try aerial yoga. This is despite the fact that I’m afraid of heights. (And also weirdly afraid of yoga.) But the way I see it, that’s all the more reason to try it. I need to prove to myself that I can push past my fears. But I don’t need to do it alone.
So I worked up the courage to post an invitation to my Facebook friends. I closed my eyes, took a deep breath, and jumped. I expected crickets, to be honest. Not even rejection, just silence, which is somehow the worst rejection of all. Instead, three people were all in! Three! I’m bouncing up and down with excitement!
It’s happening. We’re signed up for aerial yoga in a couple of weeks. I’m going to have this adventure, and I’m going to have moral support in the process. There will be friends to watch me if I fall, and the memory of my acrobatic flailings will potentially be burned into their brains. In a way that makes it harder. But it also makes it much, much easier.