Are you holding back from pursuing something you want?  Don’t let the fear of rejection stop you from going after your goals.  Rejection sucks, I know, but it is not going to kill you, and honestly it’s just a normal part of life.  No one I have ever met has been immune to the feeling of rejection.  Let me repeat NO ONE.

I’ll give you 3 clear examples we can all relate to:

1. In high school, plenty of us from all walks of life, despite great grades, did not get into our first choice for college.

2. In our job searches, everyone I know has had to go through a series of interviews with various employers, and again despite impeccable credentials, we don’t always get our dream job in a nano second, especially in this job market.

3.  In the dating world, none of us get the guy or girl we want 100% of the time.  Looks, smarts, and a great attitude can all be there and yet a lot has to do with timing.  Sometimes, the timing just sucks.

The secret to finding the courage to put yourself out there is this: learn not to take things so personally.  If you still think I’m full of crap, I’ll give you a very personal example that proves my point:  22 years ago, I went in search of my dad after I discovered he was actually alive, contrary to what I’d been led to believe.  Unfortunately, when I reached out to him, he was not at a point in his life where he could deal with the situation.  Deep down inside, I knew this was not about me, and then for years, I tried to not think about it or talk about it– until finally in January 2011, I decided enough was enough, and that I needed to give it one more shot to try to make peace with my maker.

That journey from 2011 was all captured in this blog, and this week will be the 3-year anniversary of when I reconnected with my dad and discovered my half-brother in London.   Since then, we’ve all made such huge efforts to see each other, share holidays and talk on a regular basis that now it just seems like we’ve been in each other’s lives forever.   Over the last few years, this “lost family” has taught me so much about myself and filled my heart with joy.  They have given me a sense of belonging that somehow was missing the first 38 years of my life, and honestly, looking back I don’t know how I managed so long without them.

My story is no doubt a bit extreme, but sometimes you need an extreme example to prove a point.  No one could have predicted 3 years ago how things would turn out with my dad, and yet I knew one thing for sure- if I made zero effort, there was no chance of achieving anything.  As it turns out, only by going out on the biggest limb of my life did I finally reap the greatest reward: by making peace with him, I found peace within myself, and this then enabled me to tackle other major challenges in other areas of my life.

So, whatever it is you seek in life,  you have to find a way to go for it.  As they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained.  And especially when it comes to love, at some point, you are going to have to go out on a limb and show your vulnerable side.  If someone is unable to accept what you are offering, just know that this is more often than not a reflection of their limited capacity.  Don’t let others limitations hinder you or bring you down.

Truly, the only way to realize your full potential is to put yourself out there.  Is it scary?  No doubt, but then again the greatest rushes in life come from conquering our fears, not by bowing down to them.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.