Some time back I wrote a piece on trying to become more fun and more adventurous. Since then I have made a concerted effort to do new things that push me out of my comfort zone. I think it’s good to challenge myself and I’m learning that there are new things and experiences that I enjoy and new people that I have met. This doesn’t come naturally to me. While I’m friendly and often outgoing, it’s easy for me to retreat into an introverted version of myself. So I press on.
In that same piece and another, I have also written of my goal to be more “present”. For me that means feeling more and expressing those feelings more. At times it has meant being willing to let myself cry when for years I would not. It has also meant being willing to express myself in various forums, including this blog, and risk being vulnerable to others’ opinions. And family, friends and strangers have been encouraging as I took the chance.
[Side note: Most of the time once I post on the blog, I find myself “hiding out” for a while – my way of finding a safe place when I’m feeling vulnerable to others’ criticisms.]
But there’s something else I’ve learned as well. With the openness and public revealing of yourself, sometimes you humiliate yourself. Sometimes you can say things in the moment that look very different the next day. Sometimes taking the chance to express your emotions can lead to making a fool of yourself. Sometimes you look back and cringe with embarrassment at something you’ve said or done. And you can’t take it back. At best you can try to hold your head up, hold the tears in, and walk on.
But where’s the lesson? When you risk it and fall, do you dare risk it again? Do you dare put your heart on display for the world knowing that you may be embarrassed/ mortified/ red-faced/ humiliated (I’ve run out of descriptive words) again? Why not just retreat back to the same safe place you’ve been for so long? It might not be as exciting, but it also doesn’t hurt as much. Or do you dare to keep going, to keep trying, to keep putting your heart on display knowing full well that the world may trample upon it again? Or is taking that chance even more foolish than the fact that you’ve already been made a fool once?
Is it worth the risk to be made a fool a second or third time?
And where do you go for first aid for your heart? Do you stay in bed and refuse to go outside? Do you binge on ice cream and chocolate for dinner? Do you watch that Hallmark movie and then scream at the TV? Nope. You dust yourself off, put one foot in front of the other and go out to live life again. Maybe followed by some retail therapy.
At this point some might quote the immortal words of Lord Alfred Tennyson: “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
However, I think I’ll quote a different philosopher: “I’d rather have thirty minutes of wonderful than a lifetime of nothing special.” Shelby from Steel Magnolias