I never thought I would be able to find a connection between the terrible storms of the past week and my dating life . . . but I have done it!
I am scared of storms, all storms. As a boy I would hide under the covers at the rumbling of the thunder (and honestly sometimes as an adult).
Now when it rains, in an effort to face the fear, I often go outside and walk around. A few days ago when I was dodging puddles lightening struck and I almost died . . . well, not really, but I high-tailed it back to my home.
I made a foray into the fear, and then backed out to perceived safety. I am ready to become more comfortable with storms but I am taking my time.
This is not unlike dating for me. I love to love, but I am taking my time as I explore my fear and my bravery.
Beyond academic scholarship, Sheryl Sandburg’s new book created quite the stir when she used the concept of leaning in to implore women to more assertively advocate for themselves in the workforce.
But how far should we lean into a fear before it becomes counterproductive (i.e. too much too soon)? What if “going at something” too often blinds us to lessons only time and introspection can provide? When do we know when it is not worth it any longer and it is best to “cut the cord” and move on?
Some would argue that going too far, too often and for too long will get us so burned that it sends us racing to the bottom of the downward spiral we all dread (you know that Greek story of the guy with wings and the sun).
Truthfully no one really knows exactly how far, how often and for how long leaning in is a net gain for our growth? No doubt the process is rarely linear.
So let’s experiment with leaning in with a deliberate pace. I know this recommendation sounds like a semi cop-out, but our lives are complex, not as neat and clean as the arguments espoused in so many silly self-help books.
For example, if we are reluctant to weather the exciting and perfect storm of building strong and lasting intimate relationships then start by exploring the reasons for our reticence.
How rooted in fear are they? What are the sources of the fear?
Then get out there and date and get your feet wet. Why not?
And if you are feeling a bit uncomfortable during your first encounters perhaps that is a sign you are learning about you and the lucky person who is a part of your experiment.
Keep in mind, if things are getting too heavy for you, you can always jump back and hide under the covers for a bit . . . but before long, if you choose, you will be with someone else under those covers, leaning in together.