The perfection of life and the lessons it teaches was once again brought to my attention recently, during an interview. The journalist had prepared well and asked some great questions, including relatively new ones, questions not asked over and over by others before her. So the time spent was rather refreshing – except that it was getting late into the night. But that’s OK. I was at home by the fire at the time. Not a bad work environment!
The reminder of life’s perfection came about when she asked me how I handled the criticism of my work. As I went on to explain, life had well and truly taught me how to handle criticism already, before I ventured fully into the public eye with my work.
Life truly does bring us gift after gift through the challenges it sends. It prepares us for life ahead, often a life so far ahead that we don’t even know yet that we are going to need these skills.
I went onto explain that there would always be critics when a part of your life is in the public eye. But really, there will always be critics whether it is or not. There will always be someone who does not agree with the choices you make.
In the case of my work, particularly my book, the critics are of course out there. Some are annoyed that the book was too much about me and not enough about the dying people. They do not know that I have very little, and often no say in how my book is represented by some of my foreign language publishers. The book was always written as a memoir. If the publisher chooses not to mention that on the cover at all, as has been the case, then what can I do?
Others say it was disrespectful to write about dying patients. But those critics were not there beside the beds of these people. They do not know the integrity of my work as a carer and as someone who came to genuinely love the people I wrote of. They were not a part of the conversations that took place.
And of course, there are other critics who simply hate my work for the sake of it!
At the end of the day though, I wrote the book I was guided to write. I am at peace with that. As with any creative piece, there comes a time you just have to hand it in. You can look back on anything later and see where it could be improved, once your own skills have improved too. But obsessive perfectionism will never get anything completed!
I have connected with the readers I was meant to, through my message and the sharing of my story. These are the people I write for, not the critics.
Having said that though, I am not dependent on approval of the book or my work either. It is beautiful connecting with good-hearted, like-minded souls, definitely. But I am at peace with my personal expression either way.
My success was never in having someone say that my book was good enough to publish or not. For me, my success lies in the fact that I was brave enough to have a go, to write honestly, and to share what I was guided to share. That is success enough for me. (The fact that the book sales have since allowed me to become self-employed is just the icing on a beautiful sweet cake – one I am enormously thankful for).
To allow my happiness to be dependent on the opinions of others would be regressing into someone I was a long time ago – a vulnerable, over-sensitive, withdrawn doormat. I am not that person any more. I accept there will be critics, but my happiness is no longer influenced by such opinions. My happiness comes from within.
I am so grateful to life for helping me to become who I now am. All of the criticism of my youth and teenage years, and all of the abuse in relationships as a young adult, has taught me where true happiness lies. So has hanging out with dying people and seeing how short life truly is.
The opinions of others are only that – opinions. I know I will die happily, because I have faced death, lived authentically, and honoured my life’s callings, regardless of critics.
This is one of the many beautiful aspects of life though. We are sent challenges that are so perfect for our learning. As we evolve through the growth, we realise just how significant and perfect each lesson has been in order for us to become who we are truly here to be.
So trust in the process and the perfection of each challenge that comes along. It is actually there to bless you. The wisdom you gain from your current learning and insights will become a natural part of your future self.
It doesn’t always feel it, but life really does bless us in the most perfect of ways.
I give thanks for my past as I embrace today, as the person I now am.
I also wish you acceptance of the blessings in disguise that are currently unfolding in your own life. I wish you joy. I wish you peace.