I spend a lot of time advising writers not to let rejection get them down. But today, I am offering a difference bit of advice on the same subject. Instead of thinking of ways to ignore the sting is failure, let’s try learning how to celebrate successes– no matter how small.
Have you noticed the way that we tend to take negativity to heart, no matter what the source? For example, if a deranged stranger on the subway insults you– says you’re fat or something– you may spend the whole day thinking back on it, being angry or hurt. But if that same person were to give you a compliment, you wouldn’t be on cloud 9 all day. Instead you would consider the source– he was just some nut on the train… and how come I can never get any attention from XYZ person, etc. How many times have you heard a friend or even yourself respond to positive feedback by saying, “Well, that doesn’t count because…..”
A couple years ago, I realised that I had a bad case of this disorder. I noticed that I could quote negative reviews chapter and verse. (And truthfully, they weren’t all that negative. They just weren’t raves.) But when I got a rave, I explained it away. “Well, that was just because I am a local girl.” or something like that.
I was doing this in every aspect of my life. At the time I was trying to lose weight. When I would get on the scale and had gained half a pound– so frustrated, in the wrong direction a half pound was a LOT. If I lost half a pound– why wasn’t it a full pound!!– still frustrated.
The remedy, is that I started keeping a little “love list.” At night when I got through plaiting up my crazy hair, I would jot down every nice thing that was said to me that day, every positive thing I had done toward my goals. I wrote down everything– no matter how small. (When the lady at the Thai restaurant brought me a free taste of coconut ice-cream, I wrote that down. Kind emails from readers, printed them out. When a dude sleeping on a bench said, “You are one good looking lady,” I put that on the list. The next day when he said, “I may be homeless, girl, but I ain’t blind!” I put that down, too.) Then, the next morning when I drank my coffee, I read the list from the day before.
I know it sounds kooky but it really improved my outlook on life. And kookier still, when I opened my eyes to the affirmation I received, it seemed that the list each day just kept getting longer and longer.