Rejection, and life’s expectations

I’m starting to realize that life isn’t as simple, or as cut and dry, as I once believed.

I’m also starting to clue into the fact that “people” are right when they say that kids who are praised incessantly as they are growing up tend to have a lot of trouble adjusting to the “real world.”

I make this claim because I think I fit that description.

I have been quite successful at most things I have done in my life.

Academically I was quite above average, posting an elementary school average in the 90s, a high school average that was pretty much bang on 90 per cent, and a university average right on the line between a B+ and A-.

At work now, as I hold down a real job with real consequences, I have continued to be successful. When I put stories on my story list, very rarely do I not manage to complete them. I feel if I put something on the list, I have failed if I do not produce it by the end of the week. I am relentless, and it pays off.

But, I think there have always been signs of what happens when success doesn’t come my way.

One example that comes to mind is my sporting career. When I played softball when I was younger, I was pretty good. But that was, looking back, what you could call a big-fish-in-a-small-pond situation. The league wasn’t very good, and I was one of the best of the worst. The evidence of this came when I moved on to another, higher-calibre league when my old league no longer had enough players at my age level. Suddenly, I was one of the worst — I couldn’t hit the actually competent pitching worth a darn. I could still field well, but the speed of play took me out of the infield and left me in the outfield, which was fine because at least I was quick and I still had a good glove. But I eventually quit the league a year before I would have been too old because I wasn’t having fun.

But the greatest example of my apparent inability to handle failure and rejection has to be my dating life.

The TL; DR version is I am too scared to try.

I am afraid to put myself out there and take the first step. I have trouble approaching women I am interested in because I don’t like the feeling of being unsuccessful at anything.

I know that it shouldn’t bother me if I approach a woman and she spurns my advances. I know that just about nobody will end up living the rest of his/her life with his/her first dating partner. I know that everyone deals with rejection.

Still, the whole idea it could happen to me essentially cripples me. It paralyzes me into inaction.

And why?

I wish I knew.

I wish I knew what I could do to get over this crippling fear. I keep telling myself there’s ultimately no risk putting myself out there amongst people who don’t know me. That I need to realize that putting myself out there is good for me, because it allows me to escape my comfort zone and take a chance. That sometimes I just need to put my feelings out there and see who is ready and willing to catch them.

Yet, I just end up fantasizing about the dates we would go on, and the lives we’ll live, without ever actually going up to the woman and asking her to join me in those fantasies. All because I can’t seem to understand that if she doesn’t want to share in my fantasies, it’s not the end of the world.

I’m working on it.