If my email is any indication, lots and lots of freelance writers suffer one way or another from what I would call poor self-worth.
I suppose it’s not surprising. I suspect writers face more rejection than the average professional salesperson.
And it doesn’t do a whole lot of good to be told rejection isn’t personal. After all, we’ve poured our soul, more of less, into our submission and when it’s kicked back, usually with no encouragement at all, it feels personal, even though we know, at least in theory, that it isn’t.
Obviously getting down on yourself because your writing career isn’t’ going well at the moment is less than productive. So how do you improve your view of yourself? These nine tips may help:
Make a list of all you’ve done. One of my personal signs that I’m getting down on myself is when I hear my self-talk turn to themes around “you haven’t done enough.” The truth for me, and I’ll bet for you too, is that I’ve done a ton. I just need to remind myself and making a list of what I’ve accomplished helps turn my head around.
Find one way that the world is a better place just becasue you’re in it. Rev. Guy Williams taught me this one. We all do things that make the world a better place, even if it’s a simple as making the bed. Often it’s much more than that – I have a friend who regularly gives sandwiches directly to the homeless. Another quietly works to help children, both in the U.S. and Africa. Another makes it a point to smile at all babies no matter how he’s feeling. You get the idea. What do you do? When I remember how I make a contribution I feel better about myself. BTW, it won’t hurt if you find three things and do this as a daily practice whenever you need a lift.
Write a gratitude list. Not original with me, nor with Oprah either, but darn it those lists work. When I remember to be grateful for things like my cat, my family, my phone and my internet connection life looks better.
Get out in nature and notice how beautiful it is. I’m lucky that I live on a canyon full of trees, birds and all sorts of life. Even so, when I’m down I have to remember to at least look out the window and enjoy it. There’s something very healing about the natural world.
Reach out and help someone else. When I get out of myself and help someone else I always feel better. It doesn’t have to be elaborate – answering a question in a forum or by email, smiling at that baby, letting a car make a turn in front of you without getting angry, volunteering somewhere… any and all of these will tend to move you toward a more positive view of yourself.
Make something pretty in your office. Adding a bouquet of flowers, putting up a poster or picture of something that makes you happy in your work area can lift your mood. So can just rearranging stuff for more efficiency and getting rid of clutter.
Make amends. Do you owe someone an apology? Make amends, even if they were also wrong. Apologize for your part. I find if I don’t do this pretty promptly it drags on me and saying ‘I’m sorry’ frees up tremendous energy.
Say thank you to someone. Noticing that someone has treated you well and saying ‘thank you’ improves both their mood and yours. Cathy Miller has an article called Who Knew Customer Service Was Another DIY Task? In comments we discovered that both of us make it a point to complement a good CS rep to their supervisor when we get good service. And I’ve decided to tweet about that too.
Tell someone you love them. We’ve all got people in our lives we love, but sometimes remembering to tell them we do gets lost in the business of life. Take a moment and tell them. When we stop long enough to notice who we love and who loves us, we begin to remember we can also love ourselves.
How do you stop getting down on yourself?