Ah, vulnerability. The word just sounds nerve wracking. Webster defines it as capable of being physically or emotionally wounded. For the most part I think of it in the emotional sense. Going out on a date with a new guy, plunging into a crowd not knowing anyone, submitting to a new agent, joining a group. I’m pretty good at the initial stuff, the meeting and greeting. Years of working in sales provided me with that skill. It’s when you get past the first blush, the shiny new feeling, that it gets nerve wracking. First dates (and I mean that in the broadest sense, not just the for real dating sense but that applies too) are pretty easy, it’s all about where you grew up, your family, college, experiences, recent travel. The second date, if it gets to that, is where the hard part begins. You’ve learned the surface info but don’t know the other person well enough to let down your guard. You know you are still being evaluated, after all you are evaluating as well. But the fact that someone is looking at you and scrutinizing you has a higher priority than what you are doing simultaneously. You are laying it all out there hoping the other person will say “hey I like you, come join me for …” Your emotions, weaknesses and frailties are on display for all to see. And boy is it a palpable feeling of fear. What if they don’t like what they see, what if the reaction is “meh”, what if I like them more than they like me? What if? That fear of rejection never goes away, we just get more capable of managing it. We realize that if we give into that fear, we’ll miss out on some pretty amazing people and experiences. Our lives then become a series of “what ifs” not incredible memories and great stories. And we forget that no matter who the other person is, what success they’ve achieved in life, how confident they appear, they suffer from the same fear of being rejected and discarded.
Oh that sound you hear? It’s my knees knocking and my heart pounding. You too?