My chosen profession as an author gives me the opportunity on almost a daily basis to read either praise or criticism in regards to my work. As you can imagine, some days I’m ecstatic and other days, not so much. Sometimes it can even depend on the hour. There are days I receive such overwhelming praise, it makes feel like I really know what I’m doing. Other days I feel like I’m in the pit of despair and I should give up writing altogether. Sadly, my mood on those days can be tied to the amount of stars I’ve received or the types of reviews I’ve been given. Basically, I’m letting virtual strangers tell me how I should feel about myself.
I’ll be the first to admit, this is not a good way to live, and I’m working on not tying my self-worth to the praise or criticism of man. And really, who should I believe? On one hand, my critics have told me that a teenager could write better than me or I should be ashamed of myself. On the other hand, I’ve had people tell me I’m their favorite author and they’ll buy anything I write, or they comment how well written my books are, or even that I’ve written the best book ever. I’ve read so many fantastic books that I know I haven’t written the best book ever, but maybe to that person it is. Bless them.
You see where the problem lies? So what can I do? Or what can any of us do? I know I’m not the only one who deals with insecurities or self-worth issues.
Sister Patricia Holland stated – We often worry so much about pleasing and performing for others that we lose our own uniqueness, that full and relaxed acceptance of ourselves as a person of worth and individuality.
This quote really struck home. Again, going back to my profession: So not only do I read my reviews on a daily basis, but I have made the mistake of reading the comments left on the negative reviews. One particular negative comment was made on the first book in one of my series. I was, and am, working on the second book in that series. When I came upon this comment, it literally stopped me in my tracks. It made me question the direction I was taking and made me wonder if I should even continue. Was I happy with how the book had been coming up to that point? The answer was yes. So why did the opinion of a couple of people suddenly make me doubt all of my hard work?
Fear? Yes. Worry? Yes. Feelings of inadequacy? YES! With every book I release, I feel like this is the one where people are going to finally figure out I have no idea what I’m doing. And whereas that may be true, I do love what I do. I’m successful at what I do.
This year I’ve tried making this my motto:
You have to care about your work, but not about the result. You have to care about how good you are and how good you feel, but not about how good people think you are and how good people think you look. – Amy Poehler
So much easier said than done.
But what if we took it as a commandment to love ourselves? Read the following scripture and apply it to loving yourself:
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. – John 13:34
How would we feel about ourselves if we loved ourselves as our Savior loves us? Our Savior that felt we were worth dying for. Think about that.
Believe me, I don’t have all the answers, but this I know: the worth of souls is great in the sight of God. That means my soul and your soul. Do we all have things to work on and improve? Yes, of course, but we should never let anyone rob us of our self-worth. Our self-worth was bought and paid for many years ago. That Buyer still loves us more than we can comprehend and feels we are worth his infinite sacrifice.
I would like to leave you, and myself, the following counsel given by Jeffrey R Holland in his talk titled, To Mothers and Daughters – You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self – [the real you]. And in the kingdom of God, the real you is more precious than rubies.