Your heart will never race faster than in the moment you are about to kiss someone for the first time.
It’s a gamble. A leap. Like playing with fire. Or skating on thin ice.
I can remember the pure exhilaration of my first kiss. It was at the end of my parents drive-way. And it was of those summer nights when you can still be outside in a tank top, even though the sun is long gone.
Steve was dropping me off after a trip to the movie theatre, and as we sauntered towards each other, I can remember my palms being an absolute mess of sweat and buttery popcorn grease.
Does he like me? Oh god. I like him. What if he thinks I’m an awful kisser? Jesus. Do I lean in, or wait for the lean? What the fuck do I do with my hands? Shit. What if I step on his toes? For fuck’s sake. How long should it last?
The kiss itself was all tongue and teeth. A spectacle of pure beginner’s awkwardness. But regardless….it was amazing. And electrifying. And just right.
You never forget those moments of truly putting yourself out there. Times when things could go one of two ways: Pure magic. Or rejection.
And being a newly single woman, I get to experience the rush of adolescent “does he like me” in all its glory. At 36.
Having married my high-school sweetheart, I never really “dated.” And so this whole crazy upside world of seduction is entirely new to me.
But let me tell you. “Get to” is said with a bit of “tongue-in-cheek” sassiness.
The sting of rejection can be absolutely brutal.
And what I am slowly learning, is that the more I take it personally, the worse it is.
I have absolutely had my fair share of feeling not good enough. Insufficient. And unworthy. I have wallowed in fuck-you feistiness, defensive as all get-out. Lying in a puddle of my own tears, coddling my bruised ego.
And guys, healing from heartbreak is SUCH a journey.
But putting myself in a place of potential rejection is really the only way to ignite the fireworks.
Being an entrepreneur, I taste the bitter pill of rejection in my career as well. And let me tell you. There are days when something as simple as a “No, I can’t make it to class tomorrow.” Will throw me into a tailspin of “I’m not good enough.”
Then I smile. And say to myself….“suck it up buttercup. This isn’t a personal attack on you.”
And truly.....it is the ability to possess an unwavering belief in the value of ourselves, and what we have to offer, that is the difference-maker between those who succeed, and those who do not.
Just the other day, I watched a TED Talk called “What I Learned from 100 Days of Rejection.” Jia Jing spent 100 days putting himself out there in different ways. Deliberately seeking rejection.
And you know what he learned?
That rejection, so often, ISN’T EVEN ABOUT YOU.
After going up to a stranger’s front door, and asking him if he could plant a flower in his backyard, Jia got an immediate “no.”
But instead of running away and wallowing in self-defeat, he asked “why not?”
The man said that he had a dog that would likely dig it up….and he actually suggested to go across the street to his neighbour’s house to see if she might like the flower….because well, she was much more into gardening than him.
And so he did. And the neighbour accepted his offer.
“Had I left after the initial rejection, I would have thought it was because the guy didn’t trust me, or because he thought I was crazy or wasn’t dressed well enough. It was none of those those things. It was because what I offered, didn’t fit with what he wanted.”
My god. If only I could remind myself of that more often. What I have to offer is amazing. It is uniquely me. It is beautiful in and of itself. And sometimes, that’s exactly what someone else is looking for.
But even with this knowledge, I struggle.
Because I think as human beings, we are hardwired to connect. Rejection cuts so deep because it makes us question where we fit in. And Jesus. If we aren't good enough to get a “yes,” where does that leave us?
As social beings, we we crrrrraaave acceptance. And getting rejected feels like the opposite of belonging.
MRI studies show that the same areas of the brain become activated when we experience rejection, as when we experience physical pain. So yes. Rejection hurts. Neurologically speaking.
But through the pain, I can still see that there is no reward without the possibility of rejection.
Some of my sweetest successes stem from moments when I could have either won the entire showcase showdown…..or gone home with confetti on my shoulder and tears on my face.
(Side note. I’ve never actually been on The Price is Right. But if I was, it would be THE highlight of my life. As long as Bob Barker was the host. And I was a Barker’s Beauty. Not a contestant).
It is so much safer to go for the “sure bet.” But who wants the mediocrity of the thing that requires no effort, energy, or risk?!
Rejection is not a character assassination. It is a mismatch in values. And if that truly is the case, then should we not celebrate the opportunity to “get it right?”
Staying in your comfort zone will never lead you to the game-winning on-the-buzzer three-pointer. Because dude. You’ve gotta throw the ball from across the court to even stand a chance at nailing it.
And when it comes to our health, I think SO many people just linger in the familiar, out of the fear of ridicule from others. We have nightmare memories of being picked last for the recess soccer game. And we fear embarrassment.
Putting yourself out there is SCARY. But the rewards are so worth the risks.
And so as I practice my sexy winks, and coy smiles, I try to stay grounded in who I am. Knowing that I’ve got a KILLER kitchen dance party goin’ on. And if you ain’t into my tune-age, that’s totally cool.