My favorite week of the year just happened. My step-kids came and went. On the last day as they were packing up the car to go, I got more and more nervous. Were they going to let me hug them? Would they say good-bye? Should I say I love you to them now or together as they leave or what?
I feared being rejected by them before they had the chance to reject me.
And in my fear, I said nothing. I let them walk out with just a hug, a thank you, and a wave.
Then I sat on my couch and cried. I cried because they were gone, yes. But I also cried because I let my fear win. I rejected myself before they had the chance to.
What’s crazy about the fear of rejection, too, is that the fear is what was making the rejection so much worse. The anticipation of it. Like a shot at the doctor.
What’s awesome, though, is I knew it. I was at least aware this time.
I sat there crying and I KNEW it. I knew what I had done, what I was avoiding, and I was NOT going to let fear win completely.
I practiced allowing the fear. I felt the tears, my heart in my throat, my clammy hands. I felt the fear and the rejection for a good two minutes.
And then I moved on.
I wanted to love them. I wanted to show up loving them. I wanted to love myself. They don’t get to decide any of those things.
Even if they don’t return the I love you, I can still love them.
My love for them doesn’t rest on them returning their love for me.
So I picked up my phone, and I texted. “I miss you already. I love you lots. Heart.” One to Drew and one to Mara.
One texted me back with an I love you. One did not.
At this point, I could control my thoughts, and I didn’t take it personal.
It doesn’t matter if they returned the I love you. I loved them and myself enough to do it. I love greatly, so I had to risk greatly. And sometimes that means for myself too.