I found out yesterday that I did not get into the Crafty Wonderland show. At first, I was really sad, and I felt ashamed to have to share this news with you. But then, a couple of things happened, and as of yesterday afternoon, I was back to feeling pretty darn great. This is a big change for me.
First, as soon as I read the email, I let myself feel sad for a few minutes. This might seem ridiculous, but it’s a radical change from how I used to deal with rejection. In the past, I’d pretend it didn’t bother me at all. I’d convince myself I didn’t care. But in reality, I’d carry a little piece of disappointment around with me for weeks, maybe months, and that heavy bit of sadness made me doubt myself and avoid sticking my neck out again for a long time.
A few minutes of raw sadness turns out to be a lot easier. I’m not sure why I feared that emotion so much in the past, but after a good ten-minute sulk, I felt fine. (I should add that my guy gave me a lot of love, as did two friends via email/text. That helped, too.)
Second, I stopped myself from falling into an old, unhelpful habit. As soon as I processed the rejection email, I noticed that my thoughts slid right into the conclusion that my work must not be very good.
Rejection = the work sucks. Right? Don’t a lot of us think this, maybe without even realizing it? In the past, this equation seemed perfectly accurate, and I would abandon an idea right there and then.
This time, I stopped myself and made myself separate assessing the quality of my work from the result of applying to this one craft show. Happily, I quickly decided I still love my books and cards and am eager to keep working on them.
Wow. That’s new. I like it.
I’ll admit that it will be a little hard for me to see other coloring books at the show, but I’ll survive. In fact, it will be interesting to see what others are doing.
Hm. I hardly recognize myself!
All of you following this blog and sharing supportive and insightful comments have played no small part in this new, more resilient and positive me. As always: thank you! It’s really great to know you’re out there!