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I felt like I had published my diary for the world to see. But I was glad I did it. It showed me that I was serious about this creative life I’ve chosen. I was happy with my work and proud of myself. It wasn’t until I released it into the world that I really started thinking about how other people would receive it.

One day I was out promoting my book, speaking at a book club meeting and I met a woman with sharp eyes who didn’t like the book at all. She said, “What was it about? The whole time I couldn’t figure out where it was going and what was the point?”

She was the first one to speak and she had a lot more to say. I was hoping everyone didn’t feel this way. I’d prepared myself to not take anything personally. I don’t remember what I said but I was gracious. She had questions about what age group I had in mind when writing the book and what I’d hoped that people would take away after reading it. I was so focused on being open-minded in the moment that I didn’t really have an emotional reaction to her comments until later. Most of the women in the book club loved my diary, I mean, my book. I was thankful for that. It documents a part of me that I don’t share with most people and to have it embraced felt amazing.

Still, that night after the book club when I got home and was able to be alone, the anxious thoughts kicked in. I thought about the lady with the sharp eyes and I replayed everything she said in my head. Over and over. Floating around just beneath the replay loop, I held these questions in my mind: How did she not get it? How could I have done better? Did I rush it? Should I have gotten more feedback before I published? Should I try to write more like this person or that person?

I started thinking maybe I should feel embarrassed about my book. It didn’t matter that all the other women loved it, all I could see were those sharp eyes and all I could hear were her detracting comments. Doubt and confusion built up as I let all my energy flow to these yucky thoughts. Just above all of this, waiting for me to get there, was a higher understanding.

HOW TO DEAL WITH REJECTION

Understand What Rejection Is And Isn’t
Rejection is not a bad thing. It’s only scary until you live a little and discover that it’s a teacher, not a bully. Each rejection brings you closer to where you need to be. It’s a tough lover, but it will show you all about conviction, flexibility and faith. It helps to rid you of the need for perfection, popularity and all the things that threaten your authenticity and your growth.

Stand Back And Look At The Rejection Objectively
I thought about sharp eyes and how I felt sitting there faced with her disapproval. I realized that I could choose to look at this and any rejection objectively without attaching so much emotion and personal drama to it.

Accept The Rejection But Don’t Take It Personally
Sometimes we turn outer rejection and not getting what we want into self-rejection. Thinking small, we turn on ourselves. But thinking big, we can turn more into ourselves, not allowing criticism or praise to distract us from what’s important.

Allow Yourself To Grow From The Rejection
We need tough love sometimes. We need to be told no and we need to be challenged. It’s important to see ourselves become more brave and resilient with each rejection. Personally, I like to see my path take twists and turns that only make sense in hindsight. When you’re afraid of rejection, it’s common practice to avoid any situation that could end with you getting your feelings hurt. But living that way turns out to be the thing that hurts the most. Little by little, we have to give ourselves experiences that strip us down and tell the world who we are. It’s not about whether they like it or not, it’s about how much we like ourselves for finding the courage to do it.

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