I sat in my office crying my eyes out.
I’d just received a letter from the assistant to the editor of a local Atlanta publication I’d pitched for a story about one of my clients. It wasn’t really a letter. It was a copy of my pitch with comments and edits written all over it. He’d basically slashed and dashed my pitch and told me it wasn’t worth passing on to the editor.
At that point, I’d been a publicist for ten years, having lived in New York to work for a major retailer and a public relations firm. I was living back in Atlanta and had my own PR consultancy, managing several big clients. I wasn’t a complete novice, but this letter completely undid me.
All of my past successes crumbled to dust in light of this editorial assistant’s sweeping judgments. I couldn’t write. I had no creative ideas. I wasn’t good enough to meet the standards of his editor. What must the editor think of me? What if my clients find out? What if everyone discovers I’m a fraud?
His criticisms were so stinging, I allowed them to completely my confidence. In one moment, the thoughts of one person I didn’t know dismantled all of my years of hard work. Or at least that’s how it felt. I cared deeply what he thought, even though he didn’t know me or my work beyond this one pitch letter.
Of course eventually I moved past it, but this incident was just one of many where the opinions of others caused me pain, anxiety, or guilt. Disappointing or upsetting someone was deeply uncomfortable — sometimes unbearable. In recent years, I’ve learned to let this go. Although I still respect the opinions of people I care about, I don’t care what people think of me as much.
Are you someone who is emotionally bound to the opinion’s of others?