“If we are going to survive this, you need to remember, fear is not real. It is a product of the thoughts you create. Now do not misunderstand me; danger is very real. But fear is a choice.”
–Will Smith, as a Dad to son in an upcoming survival sci-fi movie
I liken dating in the modern world to sci-fi survival in this sense. There is a lot of fear but not nearly as much danger as it would seem. People talk about the fear of meeting an axe murderer, but statistically speaking that is not likely. Getting rejected, on the other hand, is par for the course. So is succumbing to fear of rejection based on real danger or just a choice? And how do we determine where the line is?
Heartbreak is real. For some, it can be debilitating. But in dating, if you’re the one doing the rejecting and you’re never the “rejectee,” then you’re probably not aiming high enough. In true love situations, I believe that both people feel lucky. Both feel that their date is a little out of their league. And so it’s so exciting when it really happens. And so gut-wrenching when it crashes and burns.
My New Year’s resolution is to know the difference between danger and fear and to choose against fear. This is not easy; I may need some help. My stomach is no help- it would steer me away from everything. My mind is no help. I would obsess until the window of time had passed. My shame is no help. I’m letting go of shame. But acting shamelessly can sometimes leave me to embarrass myself or piss people off. Just ask the Gallaghers on Showtime.
My grammar auto-correct is green-lining “I may need some help.” Is that because I should be more sure about my needs? If I need help, it should be a definite. Maybe I don’t need help. Maybe I just need grit and determination. I also need a healthy dollop of faith, which is hard to come by these days. Luckily I have a reserve of faith that I saved for a rainy new year’s day, like a special bottle of wine in my cellar. Do have a faith cellar?
Try to find yours. Actually do not try. As Yoda says: “Try there is not. Do or do not.” Every time the universe throws you a bone- like a great date with someone who lives in another country- hold onto the good faith. Let go of the guy. Keep the faith perfectly chilled in your faith cellar until you find yourself in need of reserve. Thank the universe for giving you a taste of what is to come, rather than cursing the universe for taking it away. There’s more goodness where that came from, if you can choose against fear.
This year, make it your resolution to get rejected as much as you can. The more times you are rejected the closer you are getting what you seek. In sales, they say: “Every no leads you closer to a yes.” That is, if you can learn from your failures and improve. Do not seek perfection (that is foolish), but aim high. Disappointment comes when it comes, and it sucks as it always does. The fact that you didn’t get your hopes up doesn’t really make it better. You have to get your hopes up if you want anything good to happen. It’s your dream- make it big.
When I had my dating-café Drip and it reached its height of popularity circa 1997, customers said to me: “I’ll bet you never imagined your place would be like this!” And I was thinking: “Of course I imagined it- or it would never have happened!” I didn’t say that- I was trying to be polite. And I think that I had suppressed the fact that I had been terrified that it wouldn’t turn out how I imagined. I guess it’s like the pain of childbirth—we are programmed to forget that fear or we would never endure it again.
But I say “Endure away!” Tolerate and suppress as much fear as you can. Beware of danger but trust that you can handle danger a whole lot better if you don’t have fear.
There’s a Hebrew song that goes something like this: “All the world is a very narrow bridge, and the key point is not to be afraid at all.” Sounds better in Hebrew set to music but there you go. Happy New Year and don’t be scared. Be Will Smith.