All of us have faced disappointment at some point in our lives.
And this disappointment has arisen in multiple forms.
Some of us got picked on in the playground. Some of us didn’t get our expected grades in that exam that we worked so hard towards. And some of us got pushed away after confessing our affections for someone.
What do these accumulated experiences add up to? You know it. A series of memories that transport us back to that feeling of raw, emotional pain. We try our best to move past them. We tell ourselves that this hurt is history, until a similar situation arises, and that scar becomes an open-wound.
A lot of us are really good at guarding ourselves in scenarios that resemble a past, painful memory. We stop trying to make new friends because, what’s the point? It’s really hard to meet people that you can truly connect and click with. So-and-so probably already has a load of friends, why would they want to be friends with me. We stay in that we job that we hate because it pays pretty well and we don’t believe we’ll finding anything better. We’ve done so many applications in the past, for no, or few, interviews and very little success. We’re just not good enough, we tell ourselves. And we don’t ask out that guy/girl we like because, let’s be honest, they’re probably not going to be interested in us.
So we can go about life this way, with our armour strapped on and our shields at the ready, and we’ll probably do okay. We’ll probably be just fine.
But that’s all you’ll ever be. Just fine.
You’ll settle for just texting and calling up your old friend, Sue, from college, who never seems to genuinely care about what you have to say. You’ll resort to spending your weekends with Jenny from work, who you can never have a stimulating conversation with. But it’s fine, at least you have company.
You’ll do the safe thing. You’ll stay in that job and maintain that steady income. You’ll have stability, the thing that, as humans, we so naturally crave. For months or years of your life, you’ll spend most days feeling bored, stuck or, even, miserable. But it’s alright, that’s why we have fun on the weekends right?
You won’t get to pick, you’ll be picked by someone that was brave enough to go after what they wanted, and you’ll stay with someone that’s not right for you, because, hey, they could be worse, and it’s better than ending up alone.
It’s terrifying to put yourself in a position of vulnerability.
It can make you feel anxious, stressed and nauseous, even.
But the paradox here is that, it is only when you are no longer afraid of vulnerability, that you can make truly empowered decisions. Whilst you may be plagued with feelings of insecurity, of weakness, the move will be one of inner-strength, self-belief.
These are decisions, leaps of faith, that could result in social, career, economic and romantic disappointment, and yet you make them because you know deep down that you can’t settle with fine.
Don’t expect to lead a passionate life by constantly playing in defence, you’ll have very few victories. Lower your guard and go for it. You have to fight for what you want, which means facing short-term discomfort for the sake of long-term happiness.
You may get bruised, cut and beaten along the way but, in spite of it all, you’ll be on the cusp of a wholesome and fulfilling life.
So, that leap that you’ve been thinking of making? Make it.
Take the most integrous route for you, not the most established, and you’ll lead a life that’s truly whole-hearted.