On Crushes, Rejection, and Daring Greatly


Last week one of my kids asked me how they could get the courage to talk to someone they have a crush on.

Now I only have one high school Crush Story where I exhibited bravery. It was at a high school graduation party and I approached the boy I’d been crushing on for two years and asked him to dance.

He said no.

On the surface, it’s not such a great story.

Except for the part where I actually asked the boy I’d been crushing on to dance.

That was huge. Major bravery. And yeah, while I know all my kid wants right now is for this other kid to like them back, there is value in vulnerability.

Being vulnerable is how we open ourselves to the good stuff.

Okay so the good stuff doesn’t always show up, and risking emotional exposure can be terrifying. It’s not easy to be ALL IN.

But I know that the times I’ve risked rejection, disappointment, and embarrassment, it’s because I’ve been listening to my heart. Being me. And I don’t know, my arms get tired holding up those walls of protection.

Sure, there are days (lots of them) when all I want to do is hide, but eventually what I end up wanting to remember, is that it’s not the win or the loss that counts, but how we listen to our hearts, and allow ourselves the opportunity for joy.

 Roosevelt daring greatly_opt


How do you muster courage? Do you have any crush advice?




32 thoughts on “On Crushes, Rejection, and Daring Greatly

  1. Oh man, I can remember being like this… when they were guys I was just friends with, and just wanted someone to go to a dance or party with, they always said yes and we always had a good time. But when I was in college, I asked a guy out I was crazy about like this, and not only did he turn me down, he acted like he was offended that I’d even dared to ask! I was so devastated, I never asked a man out again! Fortunately, my husband had no similar problems. 🙂 So sorry, no advice on crushes. But if it was work-related or a career change, I’d say go for it! Hope things go better for your son/daughter!


    1. Oh so painful! It’s so true how those humiliating moments then serve as barriers to being brave in the future. Once bitten, twice shy, right? I can’t remember if I was happy to be brave at that moment or if all I could think about was the embarrassment. Time definitely helped soothe that though. Thanks for sharing, Jennette!


  2. I just make myself. Somedays, it’s easier than others. I like your point about vulnerability. I find that as an adult I spent more time getting the courage to meet new people/potential friends.


    1. It’s interesting, SOME things get easier for me as I get older and I’m realizing that it’s the things I’ve been brave about more than once. Definitely a case for trying and trying again. Thanks, Stacy!


  3. No crush advice for teens. I think your discussion of vulnerability is your best bet.

    Courage for me takes different forms as an adult. After my injury, I was/still am self-conscious about putting myself out there — but I won’t give into fear. Fear separates me from my soul and that relationship is most important to me. You never know who you will impact or meet.


    1. You never know who you will impact or meet–so, so true. Our best bet is being as authentic as we can, because that’s usually when the connections (the ones we wanted or didn’t know we wanted) happen. Thanks, Patricia!


  4. The courage to be vulnerable is a hard feat, indeed. I’ve had lots and lots of times where I felt like I couldn’t be brave and then I was and it paid off. I’ve also had times where it didn’t pay off and that’s why it’s hard to overcome it! Great post.

    Jules of Canines & Couture


  5. I have no crush advice, because I’m the person who when the boy of my dreams leaned forward suddenly and kissed me, I slapped him. It was an automatic reaction due more from surprise, and even as my hand connected with the side of his face, my brain was screaming – What are you doing? He’ll never try to kiss you again. It was incredibly embarrassing for both of us. We never talked it and he never tried to kiss me again.

    As for vulnerability, I probably Dare Greatly for a few minutes every day. I’m shooting for eventually experiencing longer periods of daring.


  6. You must be doing something right if your kid asked you for crush advice! Funnily enough, I’m a big wimp with most things, but not when it comes to matters of the heart. Be brave, I say…because even when it looks like a loss, at least you’ll know that and you can move on.


  7. Oh, man, I don’t know that it gets that much easier when you are trying to date as an older adult. I know I give myself the same advice you gave your teen, even though, I’ve been through plenty of occasions where risking didn’t get the desired response, I have never regretted my courage or the vulnerability it took!


    1. I don’t regret my courage either, in fact, now I feel a sense of pride. I imagine it doesn’t get any easier, the dating thing. Even in my marriage or with friends, there are still moments where it’s hard to be vulnerable. Thanks, Joanna!


  8. I admire the courage you showed, walking up to that guy the way you did. It’s wonderful that you are passing that on to your kids. It’s not easy, learning to be strong, but it’s a worthy trait to own and make a part of yourself. I think I turned way from the boy more times than not, feeling unworthy. That was always something I had to work on through my school years.


  9. I think I am able to be my most courageous when I don’t try to psyche myself up or tell myself to “be a real man and get some balls,” etc., but when I am willing to be candid about the fact that I am frightened, or that this is an intense moment for me — regardless of the “result” of that sort of conversation, I go away feeling like I communicated with integrity and didn’t try to puff myself up or impress the other person. It’s trickier than it sounds, I think, because it’s important, for me, not to use confessing my discomfort as a strategy for looking honest, but to do it because that’s how I am committed to living.


    1. You’re so right about being kind to yourself. I get extra insecure when I tell myself I’m being a wimp. It really doesn’t help to beat ourselves up about it, but that’s also hard not to do. Thanks, Chris!


  10. Many people always had that fear of approaching the opposite sex, especially during our teenage years. Fear of rejection is one thing. Fear of girls was the other. Once I got over that fear it was smooth sailing!

    Public speaking is actually the biggest fear of poeople.


  11. I still have to muster courage from time to time. It comes from deep down and it is the yearning to be connected. I remember those veryawkward days of long ago when courage was asking a girl out, to dance, or to meet new people. Then I got married, had kids, and life changed forever. I still need courage to stand up and do what’s right, but it is getting easier, at least most of the time….I have heard ‘NO’ before, and I’ll probably hear it again. good advice


  12. Hi Colleen,
    Stopped by from Susie’s party. You have a really nice site, and some very interesting thoughts.
    Really liked the wetsuit post – funny !. As for this one, my take on the subject is that “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you played the game (and even that you had the courage to play).
    Best to ya !


  13. I wish I had crush advice. My daughter has a crush on a boy, and just found out yesterday that he likes one of her friends. She said, “My heart has broken apart like a stale crouton!”

    Haha, so cute, so dramatic, and so painful to hear about. I wish I had helpful advice, but at least she is a writer and has already written about it. I love the quotes you chose for this post — so perfect!


  14. Well since I just got down watching last nights The Walking Dead, I’ll steal a line: calm seas do not a strong sailor make. And so we sail on, grit our teeth, pull our bootstraps, and eat some twinkles, at least that’s my approach.

    As for your son, I always find a good way of dealing with fear is asking “what’s the worse that could happen?” Or “will this matter in 5 minutes? In 5 months? In 5 years? All good things take a little risk. Like I risk my thighs to enjoy another Twinkie!


    1. Oh I’m forever risking my thighs (and other parts)LOL. The Walking Dead is my favorite show on TV , so I will gladly take the wisdom. Fear takes on a whole different level when you’re living in an abandoned prison surrounded by zombies! Thanks, Lauri.


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