We’re all human, and most of us fear rejection to some degree. The more self-assured you are, probably the easier you find it, but some of us have little self-esteem, and for us rejection isn’t just a fifty-fifty chance of ‘no’.
That tiny monosyllable packs a punch as big as that of the mantis shrimp. Most of the time it means the end of the world as we know it—or so it seems as we contemplate the risk. The importance of the question is completely outweighed by the possibility of ‘no’—because ‘no’ is already a reality in our minds, and we prefer to wait for something that never happens than to prematurely test its strength.
We abuse probability. Constantly! Constantly! My character Drina points out that after the nine-eleven attacks on the World Trade Centre, more Americans were killed in road traffic collisions than would have been had the bombings suffered repeat. Made terrified of planes, they travelled by car instead, and the resulting congestion caused more grisly accidents than the instantly-killed passengers on those airliners. Misperception of risk.
Is passivity really the best action, minimising risk?…when all the time something else can slide-tackle your leisurely dribbling and win your heart’s desire for all eternity. Better you know where you stand, be good or bad, than lose it all through your own negligence.
Carpe diem. Live like there’s no tomorrow. #YOLO.
There’s far more to rejection than is apparent. One fears the vulnerability inevitable when proffering a question. We may be humbly convinced of our own inadequacy, but perhaps we are egoistical really, clinging to whatever respect we may get: in a ‘no’ we lose both our self-respect and, we fear, others’, too.
In reality, those who bend are respected more, for they are aware that the stakes of happiness are higher than those of loss. They can recover and find new raisons d’etre; if they never try, they will never know and never smile and will miss out once again on wells of confidence they didn’t believe they had.
We miss opportunities without realising they’re there, clutching our comfortable places and our tenuous threads of respect. I am a watcher, a waiter, a gatherer of information, but I do not plant the seeds I carry. So my baggage grows heavy and my fields never yield. I am so scared of failure I don’t even try.
This is something I’ve been striving this year to keep at bay. At every regret I know I’ve a long way to go, but I’m going to sing ‘no, no, no! I wouldn’t change a thing!’ (CC Smugglers, who I heard at the Sertchais Festival dé Folk this weekend) and keep on trying. I promised myself I wouldn’t break my own heart—and I will not!