What Do I Do About That?

I write a lot. I make mistakes and I correct them. I try and I fail. I’ll try again until I succeed. It’s not easy to take something and show it to the world. It’s hard. There are outside forces one must face. Someone asked me what I do about the outside forces that affect my writing, my tenacity and my emotional state.

  1. Rejection
  2. Opinions good or bad
  3. Degrading Criticism
  4. Constructive Criticism.
  5. Doubt
  6. Fear
  7. Jealousy
  8. Sabotage
  9. Help and kindness
  10. Encouragement
  11. Trolls and haters

There is so much more I could list. The bottom line is no matter what a person does there will be things that help and things that hurt. I can’t say what you should do about either, it is a personal thing on how to handle them. What I can do is tell you what I do.

Recently I had an encounter with a man at a grocery store. The cashier kindly reminded the man he had some strawberries that he hadn’t packed yet. The man lost it. Yelling about knowing what he damn well bought. He used some strong language and even used a racial slur among his insults on the poor unprepared cashier. I’m not okay with any of that. I turned to the man and told him there was no need to be rude the cashier was only being kind. The man turned on me and used some more colourful language and called me all sorts of feminist derogatory comments. I told him to have a nice day and that I was sorry he was so miserable to attack someone who was being nice.

Long story short, it made me think. His insult was to call me something pretty offensive. I’m sure he found that to be a great and vindicating insult. I didn’t take offense. Why? Because to me what he called me wasn’t an insult. Sure he meant it to be mean. But the truth is he’s just a sad and miserable man. I shook it off and complimented the cashiers kindness and patience.  Water off a ducks back is the saying.

The reality is that I looked at the situation from the grumpy belligerent, racist, homophobic, rude mans perspective. I have no idea what brought him to sputter such hateful things(And loudly). But it couldn’t be good. What I do know is that he was interesting and yes, I tucked him away for a character bio.

So regarding my list… What do I do about that?

  1. Rejection… I keep trying. Even when others say not to. It’s up to me. Not them. Not giving up is harder than it seems. I have my ups and downs, but in the end I keep my eye on the prize. I set my stubbornness to task and I move forward.
  2. Opinions good or bad – Take them with a grain of salt, but never ignore them. The good ones are considered, the bad are heard but they don’t get a say in the end.
  3. Degrading Criticism – Look at the source. Is it from someone worth listening to? No? then I don’t listen. I won’t take criticism from anyone that hasn’t taken the time to get to know my work or me for that matter.  I check to see if they might possibly fall into haters, trolls or the jealousy category.
  4. Constructive Criticism – Take it, sit on it and revisit later. It takes time to accept it. This is the best of all. Sometimes it hurts to hear or read right away. Sometimes it looks like degrading until I look at the source and weigh the merit of the criticism. Does it have a good source? Someone with my interests in mind? Yes? Then I’ll take it and put it on a list to mull over later once I’m ready.
  5. Doubt – Doubt will come no matter what. I literally talk myself through it. I have a list of others that struggled to get published. I remind myself it’s about perseverance and dedication. This goes hand in hand with rejection at times. I get rejected then I doubt. It’s perfectly normal. But normal doesn’t mean I have to let doubt stick around. No thanks. doubt, I’m good.
  6. Fear – There is only one way to deal with this… head on. I take a deep breath and press enter. I take my chances putting my work out there with the understanding that I may fail and knowing that I may succeed. It takes tremendous courage to try, and even more courage to not sink if it doesn’t go how I dreamed.
  7. Jealousy – There is nothing I can do about jealousy. Personally I distance myself from it and do my best to not indulge. Either the source will come around or they will wallow in it. I’m not going to stop being proud of who I am and what I’ve accomplished because others aren’t happy. If I can I’ll bolster them in their own achievements. If I can’t… then I do my best to ignore it. 
  8. Sabotage – See it for what it is, acknowledge it and walk away from the source. Cut them off and if I can, I’ll confront them. This is hard to do but necessary. I have a goal, to be a published author. I’m not going to let someone actively attempt to crush my dreams.
  9. Help and kindness – I try not to overlook this one. Sometimes bad opinions sneak into this category in disguise. The trick is to identify it and act appropriately.  Those that are genuine will shine, they will make you feel worthy and they often offer help in what way they can. Sometimes it’s an ear to listen or a solicited opinion. Whatever the case may be, cherish the kind and helpful people.
  10. Encouragement – This is what will lift me up. I suck it up like a sponge and add it to my rainy day arsenal for when fear and doubt come out to play.
  11. Trolls and haters – Just walk away. Unfriend, block and ignore. Once I identify a hater or troll I cut them out with no mercy. These people take perverse pleasure from hurting others. I cut some out of my life. Some were strangers, others were close. Was it easy? Nope. Was it worth it? Hell yes. Later haters.

Nobody is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes. Our trials and tribulations help define us as who we are. While I look at that list I ask myself, regarding others, am I on the right side? Do I do unto others as I would want unto myself? Sometimes it’s not easy to see when you’re on the wrong side of the list.

I could have yelled back at that man, I could have easily been rude or just as offensive. I didn’t. I might have when I was younger and more stubborn. But I couldn’t. Life is hard enough and it doesn’t need to be harder. I chose not to add to his grief and misery. I did “people watch” him. I learned from his behavior so something good came from it.

My advice about facing the good and bad.
Be prepared for both. Be ready to embrace the good and reject the bad. If you want encouragement, give it. If you want kindness, be kind. Be to others what you want for yourself and never give up.

-Sheryl

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