Happy New Year! Time To Stop Disqualifying the Positive

Got number 1,250,000 rejection letter from an editor last week.

The months before I received it, I told myself that, with all the past year’s therapy, I have a new perspective of rejection, not just the hollow self-talk of yesteryear in the form of Euphemisms About Rejection (It’s Their Loss or Not Meant to Be) but rather solid, rational, cognitive challenging that was truthful and real and authentic and that I actually believed.

I told myself that when (IF) the rejection came and the automatic thought, “I’m a total f*$king loser/failure because I’ve been rejected by so-and-so”, rose up in my brain, I would seamlessly challenge it with: “I’m not a total f*$king loser/failure because look at those three degrees up there on your wall and check out that first place award from your first book and set your eyes upon the volumes of Sucker Literary in your book shelf.”

Then, on Dec 15th, I awoke to this in my inbox:

“I loved the premise, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. Hannah is definitely a talented writer (her voice is spot on for NA!) but I just didn’t connect to the manuscript in quite the way that I hoped. I wish you both the best of luck in finding this manuscript a home, and I can’t wait to see what Hannah does in the future! ”

And…my self-esteem exploded.

This rejection hurt—much to my disappointment—far more than I anticipated.

No matter what I told myself in that moment I read that email, “You’re a loser/failure/f*$k up” echoed through my brain far louder than other, more rational thoughts.

The rest of that week I only saw my own writing and attempts at publishing through a heavy veil of depression, and I felt myself spinning backwards and buying the thought: “You’re a loser/f*$k-up/failure.” Not only was I buying that thought, but I was banking it, staring at it daily, and watching it inflate and deflate.

This Veil of Depression did not lift as I went about my normal, daily life of work, children, husband, etc. Worst of all, I found myself doubting my abilities in all of those areas.

You suck as a therapist and you suck as a writing coach and you suck as a mom and you suck as a wife.

By the end of the week, when I burst into tears because I made a minor mistake with some paper work, the depression skidded to a halt, like a car slamming on the brakes.

What the mother f*$k am I doing to myself?

Stop!

I reached into my Self-Therapy toolbox that is this book length manuscript thing I’ve been kinda sorta working on. I ran my eyes down the list of Ways We F*$k Ourselves Over and—ah-ha!

There it is! This is what I’m doing:

Disqualifying the Positive, which is a form of a Cognitive Distortion.

Not once, in that whole week, did I look at that email and take in ANY positive part.

I only saw NEGATIVE:

“I loved the premise, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. Hannah is definitely a talented writer (her voice is spot on for NA!) but I just didn’t connect to the manuscript in quite the way that I hoped. I wish you both the best of luck in finding this manuscript a home, and I can’t wait to see what Hannah does in the future! ”

When we Disqualify the Positive, we do E-X-A-C-T-L-Y that. We tell anything positive to f*$k off, and we gaze into the eyes of the negative lovingly.

It really is one of the single worst things humans do to themselves.

The answer is to do the opposite, even if it feels really weird.

Which is E-X-A-C-T-L-Y what I did.

I took the email out and AMPLIFIED the positive so that I saw this:

“I loved the premise, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass. Hannah is definitely a talented writer (her voice is spot on for NA!) but I just didn’t connect to the manuscript in quite the way that I hoped. I wish you both the best of luck in finding this manuscript a home, and I can’t wait to see what Hannah does in the future! ”

And you know what, Ms. Editor? I can’t wait to see what I do in the future

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3 Comments on “Happy New Year! Time To Stop Disqualifying the Positive

  1. I’m so proud of you. This manuscript is awesome and it will find the right home. It’s so hard to be patient, but you’re not alone, and if you ever feel unqualified for what you do, just remember that you’ve changed who I am as an author. I’ve learned so much just from knowing you and am so proud to call you friend and sister in writing. Xoxo.

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  2. May the manuscript and the life of your work gain a lot of synergy to propell it to publication! May 2016 be THE year you will remember and relish! Oh, and keep writing!

    Like

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