I recently learned something about myself. I learned that I was not as thick skinned as I previously thought I was. My recent book “Steve the Alien” received its first poor review on Amazon. It’s amazing how one bad review can really shake a person’s foundation. Up to that point, I had received only 5 Star reviews. I was extremely proud and grateful for each and every one, but when I read the stinging review, my heart sank down to my boots. I’d worked my ass off writing and producing that book. I knew that my hard work had paid off. I was getting all kinds of positive and kind feedback. How could this be?
The poor review brought up all kinds of fears for me. The fear that someone considering purchasing the book would see it and then decide against it. That fear transformed into the “I will never sell another book again” which then transformed into “I will never reach my other goals and intentions” which then transformed into “I will never be successful” which then ultimately transformed into “I am a failure.” Which of course isn’t true…I know that. But it’s not that easy. That review triggered parts of me that need healing. I realize that not everyone is going to like what I do…it comes with the territory of sharing work in the public realm. Being reviewed is never easy…it’s essentially opening oneself up to being judged in some way. No one likes to be judged, (unless, of course, it’s all good). I wondered if I was cut out for this. I know that sounds dramatic…which typically I am anything but.
The thing that bothered me the most was that the review wasn’t even about the book. It was about an accidental one-time printing glitch from the publisher. Apparently it printed two books inside the cover instead of one. Not a big deal. But in big bold letters, the headline stated, “AWFUL PRINTING!” Why didn’t they just email Amazon, let them know and get another book sent to them? Hell, I would be happy to send her a book.
I wanted my book to put a smile on someone’s face, not create an unhappy situation. However, I needed to remember that all people are subjective; one person might love Picasso, another might love Van Gogh. We all feel differently. I started to read the positive reviews again, but even with all of the glowing reviews, it was hard to hear anything but the negative one.
At the end of the day, the entire point of my book “Steve the Alien” is to show compassion, kindness, and to be open to making new friends in spite of differences. If I am going to walk my talk and be like the characters in the book that I wrote, I need to simply hold space for this woman, even if it’s uncomfortable. There is really nothing else I can do but take the high road with grace, compassion, and gratitude. Oh…and to also realize it wasn’t personal. 😉
We must never be afraid to create. We have to do it for our own personal happiness and sanity. We create to spread beauty, to share ideas into the world, to bridge misunderstandings and to form connections with one another. We do it to connect with our spiritual nature, to something bigger than ourselves. And we have to do it even at the risk of being judged.
Copyright G. Brian Benson 2016