Several great new reviews of Highland Solution have been posted on Amazon. I can’t tell you how absolutely giddy I feel when I hear that someone likes the book. The flip side is that negative reviews cut deeply. “Shake it off,” “Ignore them,” “Everyone isn’t going to love it,” is some of the advice that I have heard. This is all unquestionably valid advice. Why then is it so hard to do?

The answer is simple. I have very low self-esteem and hair-triggers. For example, I have always had a weight problem. In the last two years I have gained much more control over that, but still when I look in the mirror a fat ugly girl looks back. That has defined me.

I am a skilled vocalist. Years ago, I was the only student accepted in the Maryland State High School Honors Chorus from my very large high school (nearly 3000 students). Still, the thing I wanted more than anything was to be in one of the musicals and I was never even cast in the chorus. Why? I learned the reason after one audition when I was a junior. The director and music director pulled about twelve of us aside and said, “It isn’t that you don’t have talent. You can all move and sing well. However you are all overweight. People come to the theatre to see life idealized. You aren’t what people want to see regardless of your talent.”

The message, “Looks are more important than talent.”

Another time a young man told me that he would never date a fat girl. I asked, “What if she was the nicest, funniest most wonderful girl to be around ever?”

He answered, “I would never even get to know a fat girl.”

The message, “Looks are more important than anything else.”

These are just two very old examples of negative messages I have retained. I have also received thousands, perhaps millions of positive messages. I have a successful business, and my first novel has been published (have you heard?). 😉 Nevertheless, the internal message that plays when I receive negative feedback is, “You are worthless.”

Why am I sharing this today? I want to help people understand Niall. He is the strong, well-respected, intelligent (not to mention gorgeous) leader of his clan. Still his step-mother was cruel and mocking throughout his childhood and the first woman he loved, who he thought returned his love, betrayed him. His mistrust of women is as deeply ingrained as is my low self-esteem. Like me, Niall has a few hair-triggers and when they are tripped, he reacts automatically.

Does it make him stupid? I hope not, because then I am as well. I think it makes him a flawed human who initially didn’t recognize those triggers and was perhaps a bit slow in learning to disarm them. Same here. I owe thanks to so many of you who have helped me!

About cecigiltenan

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