Growing a Thick Skin

After doing home parties with two different direct sales companies for more than six years, I thought I had grown pretty thick skin.

You have to.

The phone calls alone make it necessary. I can’t tell you how many times I was:

1. Screamed at

2. Cussed at

3. Hung up on.

There were also the extra special people who attended parties with no other intent except to try and humiliate the consultant. Maybe they had a bad party  experience at some point and felt it necessary to beat down every consultant with whom they made contact. They would criticize everything from my presentation to the products to the pricing.

After a while you learn to let it all roll off  your back and move on.

Writing and publishing has recently made it abundantly clear that the thick skin I thought I had developed isn’t nearly thick enough.

When reviews started coming in for The Women of Tenacity series, I was thrilled. I could handle a three star review. Not a big deal. I wanted to send personal notes of thanks to the ones who wrote the five star reviews. They were awesome.

Then a few bad reviews popped up.

Bad in the fact that they were unkind, untruthful and hurtful.

I’ve been told not to take it personally. My head knows that. My heart – well, let’s just say it is still learning.

How can I not take it personal?

Writing is a very personal thing. Writers put their thoughts, feelings, emotions, dreams and fears into words and then share it with the world.

How can you get any more personal than that?

It’s hard not to take what others say about our writing personally because our writing – our work – is such an extension of who we are.

I take it personally when a good review comes in. I think we all do when we receive words of praise for something we’ve done. It is personal and uplifting and validating.

And although I know I shouldn’t, I  take it personally when the bad reviews come in as well.

Captain Cavedweller has suggested I quit reading the reviews until I can learn to ignore the ones that make my heart hurt. It’s a good suggestion. But one I’m not fully capable of following.

If I quit reading the reviews, I will miss out on the good and the great ones that make me smile and inspire me to keep trying, to do better, to not give up.

For now, I’ll continue working on growing a thicker skin, and then a thicker one, acquiring on one hard-earned layer at a time.

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