The Power We Give Others

wadded paper due to the power a writer gives others

So Much Potential

When Carol was a young girl, she exhibited a vivid imagination and proficiency in language skills.  She always received “As” in her English and, in high school, excelled in creative writing.  She even placed second in a short story contest sponsored by a popular teen magazine. It was exciting to see her story in print and receive the small honorarium check that came as a result.  Carol felt that she had found her niche in life.  Encouraged by her mother and teachers, she decided she would be a writer.

But Carol’s father, a high school dropout who was bitter about his lot in life, had only discouraging words for her.  “It ain’t what ya know, it’s who ya know,” he used to tell her.  “What do your teachers know about being an author?” he would ask, then answer his own question with, “Nothin’.  They’re fillin’ yer head with dreams that won’t never come true.”  He would finish with, “Take it from me, you try to make yer livin’ from writing and you’ll starve to death.”

Even though disheartened by her father’s attitude, Carol persevered.  Majoring in English, she worked her way through college and graduated with honors, her sights still firmly set on making her living as an author.

The Power We Give Others

Carol accepted a position at a small town high school where she taught English during the day and wrote at night. Her head was filled with stories waiting to be told. She wrote several short stories, a few of which were accepted by obscure publications, but the majority of which, she was notified by form letters, were rejected. Discounting the accepted stories and the miniscule payments they generated, Carol took the rejections hard and finally decided that her future was in writing novels. Over the months, which ground into years, she started several manuscripts but, for some reason, was unable to finish any of them. With each one, she knew that what she had written was good but she just couldn’t bring herself to finish it, even one where she was well into the last chapter.

Finally, depressed and desperate, Carol sought counseling for “writer’s block.” After several sessions with her insightful and experienced therapist, Carol came to the realization that her “writer’s block” had nothing to do with her talent as a writer but rather was due to one of the beliefs she held. She had, in fact, been living a dichotomy of beliefs. On the one hand, she believed she was a talented writer, evidenced not only by her teachers’ and mother’s encouragement but also by her own judgment and by her short stories that had been accepted and published.  On the other hand, she also believed what her father had pounded into her head, “…dreams that can’t never come true… try to make yer livin’ from writing and you’ll starve to death.”

A Dichotomy of Beliefs

Carol had based the conduct of her adult life on both beliefs. Because she believed she was a good writer, she had continued to write. But, because she also believed that she would never make a living as an author, she put off finishing her novels in order to avoid the rejection; the failure that she unconsciously was sure would follow.

Carol has long since replaced the belief that she would be a failure as an author with the belief that she would be successful and is now read by devoted readers the world over. But she had to become aware and root out her negative belief before she could succeed.

Pretty incredible, the power we give others to determine our most important beliefs.


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