I made a mistake last week, a big one. My wife has written a novel and has gotten more comments on it on Amazon, despite not marketing it, than I have on all my books combined. When I found out, I was distraught. I felt I hadn’t made a difference in anyone’s life, that I had failed at my calling, and that someone else’s first serious attempt at writing was better than anything I had written in five years of trying.
As you might imagine, this caused a few problems…
First, I started beating myself up. This was an unfair thing for me to do because, as Leah pointed out, it doesn’t matter if the book on confidence changes only one person’s life. What matters is that I do what God told me to do.
Second, my beating myself up was hard on her because she hates seeing me like this. She doesn’t know how to help me when I get down on myself.
Third, I was berating someone God loves passionately.
Fourth, I was losing sight of what mattered. It’s not book sales, money in our account, number of comments, my own ego, or anything other than Him and His will. Losing sight of that will always, always cost you.
Lastly, I was essentially telling her that I wished I was more successful than she was. Instead of celebrating how good an author she is (her book is called Ransomed if you want to check it out. She is exceptional at painting scenes and making people care about characters, far better at those two facets than I am.), I made her feel like she shouldn’t be successful. (This, by the way, is one sure way to know whether you have true self-confidence: do you want others to be at least as successful and valuable as you are, even if you didn’t do anything to help?)
So, what did I do? Well, after a period of moping, Leah and I talked about it and I decided that she was right. She reminded me of the basic principles of self-confidence, that it’s not about what I do, how much I sell, who likes it, or anything else. It’s about following God. I had lost sight of that, and it caused me to have a very rotten few hours. If you find that your self-esteem is taking a hit, go back to the basics. Remind yourself simply that your value doesn’t come from what you’re worrying about. Then take a deep breath and just let that sink in. Once you do, you’ll find you feel a lot better about that situation and you’ll be able to approach with a clear head and a game plan, if one is even necessary.