I got a two-star review on Goodreads. It didn’t have any text attached to it. So I don’t know what exactly the person who read my book (I do hope that they actually read the book) didn’t like about it, or what they found wrong with it.
It felt strange. It didn’t really upset me, but still, it stung a little. So I decided to reflect on my thoughts and feelings about it. I mean, I know that it’s not about me personally. It’s about my book, and it’s about that person and their opinion, which they are totally entitled to have.
But still, at some point I found myself feeling a little bit deflated and discouraged. You know, we all have those days, we all have those ups and downs. One day you feel like you’re on top of the world, and the next day you feel like you’re a complete failure. Or the imposter syndrome kicks in and it’s nagging you, saying ”Well, what did you expect? Did you think you were a good writer? And that everybody was going to read and like your book?” I’m sure many of you recognize that nasty little voice that lives inside your head.
So I was thinking about it, and analyzing my feelings, and trying to see what I’m doing wrong and what lesson I can learn from it.
And here’s what I came up with:
First of all, the only person that needs to truly believe in you and your writing (or whatever it is that you’re passionate about) is yourself. It’s great if you have a supportive environment. It’s awesome if your friends and family are there for you and they believe in you, no matter what. Or if you have an amazing streat team on Instagram, and you know that people are rooting for you all the time.
But you have to be absolutely sure that if all that is taken away from you — for any reason whatsoever — there will always be one person left on your side. YOU.
If tomorrow you wake up, and the world suddenly hates you. And people are like, “We just don’t like you anymore, and we don’t believe in you anymore. And we don’t want to read your stories anymore, and we don’t want to talk to you anymore.” Even if that extremely unpleasant scenario happens to you – you still need to be there for yourself. You have to not let anyone or anything bring you down or stop you from believing in yourself.
Second, people are different. They all have their own agenda. They have their good days and bad days. They have their moods.
People have things, other people, and circumstances that influence their every thought, their every word, and every decision. They’re not in control of it most of the time (or they choose not to be, but that’s another topic altogether.)
Let’s admit it, more often than we want to, we find ourselves not in control of our own lives. So how would you control anyone else, right?
What I’m talking about here is that you cannot influence other people, you cannot influence their opinion, you cannot influence/change/predict the next thing that they’re going to say or do, whether it’s concerning you, or anyone else, or anything else.
You can’t do anything about it. So let it go.
I’m a control freak myself, and I know too well how hard it is, but seriously, just LET IT GO. You cannot do anything about it. When you accept it, things will become much easier.
We’re all seeking approval and validation, whether we admit it or not. We all like to be praised. And valued. And liked. Even loved.
There’s nothing wrong with it, really. It’s a very natural thing. Problems start when it becomes a need, a priority, something you can’t function without.
And most of us fall into that trap more often than we would like to.
Because when we start depending on validation and approval from others – we’re trapped. Eventually, it will make us lose our real goal and forget our main destination. It will seem like we’re moving ahead, while in reality we’re just running out of breath on an invisible treadmill.
I saw a review on Goodreads recently from a fellow author Nicole Adair. She reviewed her own book, “A Tangle of Dreams.” She wrote, “I’m writing this review because the opinion that matters most to me is my own. It hasn’t always been this way, but that’s the way I’d like it to be from now on.”
There is so much power and so much wisdom in this. I keep repeating to myself, “That’s the way I’d like it to be from now on.”
Try this approach. I most definitely will.
Become your own number one fan. Your own supporter. If others offer you their approval and support, accept it with gratitude, but don’t make it a necessary condition for your success.
After all, nobody knows you better than you do. Nobody understands you better than you do. Everything else and everyone else is beyond your control.