This morning I read my first negative review, ever. It was quite a blow. It's not that I thought everyone loved my work, my deliciously childish run-on sentences or constant to the point of humorous typographical errors. I guess I just thought that errors and no copy editing staff aside, the message was solid and agree or not agree ... what's not to like?
This post... is me letting it go.
I realized that my knee jerk reaction was to try to convince the reviewer that they had missed the point. My first thought was, how can I write them back. That’s when my first epiphany landed in my hands (literally I was reading and I stared at my hands in wonder as I realized that… “I cannot please everyone”. I understood that some people will be more or less vocal about their opinion and the only person I can possibly work towards pleasing is… me.
Here are my steps for letting it go.
First, I have to intentionally and deliberately understand that this isn’t Mrs. Schmalkers 3rd grade writing class and as a result, the reviews are not required to be constructive. I have no control over the person writing a review and if they would prefer to simply criticize rather than constructively criticize that is their prerogative.
Second, I understand that people are more likely to take the time to complain then they are to take the time for a compliment. I believe that’s because when someone is disappointed or not satisfied they take it very personally, and in our entitlement age when we enjoy something we feel as if we deserve it. We feel as if we paid for it therefore it is expected and doesn’t deserve mention.
Third, trust myself and my journey. Human beings in general, are not raised to trust themselves. We are generally raised to trust our “elders”, then we are shoved out into the world to be “as elders”. It’s as if we are suddenly a “finished product”. I’m smiling as I write this because my dad and I have a long running joke. When I turned 30, he was turning 50 something, and he said, “Wow, you’re thirty? We’re almost the same age”. He didn’t say that because he was self-conscious about getting older, he said that because he just didn’t feel it.
Finally, I blog. Blogging has always been my chosen method of “therapy”, from my first blog about my divorce 10 years ago to today and this blog. Writing helps put things in perspective, and it helps me share experiences in a way that I hope will tell someone else that they are not alone. I hope that in writing about challenges and the solutions I’ve found it will help someone else.
I believe we all have a voice. Whether you journal privately, publicly, speak to yourself or nationally, we all have something to say. I encourage you to seek solutions. Solutions are the harbingers of change. Many people who point out problems, fail to take the time to also think about solutions. Some people actually believe that pointing out the problems ends their responsibility, and I wonder if you think that’s true.
Either way, remember… You are the most important person to you. Your opinion matters and should be based on what you know to be true and what you value. Trust your journey and make today amazing.