Dump the Naysayers... And For Good This Time

Having negative people in your life can weigh heavier on you than you think. Here's how I—a gal who abhors confrontation—said goodbye to some of mine... (kitchen photo by Helene Dujardin)

As I do every year, last New Year's Eve, I pondered my resolutions for 2013. At the top of my list was extricating negative people from my life. This sounds simple enough, but for me—someone who abhors confrontation—it was a big deal.

There were four on my list. One is family, so this one had to stay, albeit with controlled exposure. So I tackled the two easiest: a passive agressive Facebook stalker and an acerbic and sometimes cruel email correspondent. They were gone in electronic flash. The unbearable lightness of being was intoxicating and gave me a renewed sense of braveness. It was time to tackle the gigantic negativity elephant in my life.

You may remember this person. I talked about him on this page a few months ago after what would turn out to be our next-to-last meeting. He's the compensated advisor who told me I "had to get a real job" or "marry a rich guy." Remember him? Well, that's not all he said on what I came to call "that horrible day."  He also threw out some dandies like: "Do you know XYZ? She's big time. No, I mean REALLY big time." And: "Do you have a blog and are you networking?" And my personal favorite: " Do you have a Plan B?"


I pay for this kind of advice?

Not only does this kind of commentary display a complete lack of respect for my work and what I've accomplished (as in, written and published six books in less than five years, and that's just for starters), it's insulting and downright hurtful. Unbelievably, I allowed it to pull me down. I allowed it to sink in. On some level, I started believing I was less than adequate. Those horrible words swirled somewhere in my brain of every waking moment of every waking day for months. Big chunks of Happy Holly started floating away. All the things I love—recipe testing, writing, cooking, writing about cooking and food—shone less brightly. I started losing confidence, joy, and purpose.


Photo by Helene Dujardin


Equally unbelievably, I allowed this to go on for as long as I did. Partly out of lack of desire to confront the demon and to find a new advisor, but largly because I just didn't want to believe this. I didn't want to believe someone I knew and respected for over a decade felt this way about me.

It was time to slay this dragon, "big time," so to speak. I set up a meeting to address some other business issues, not really sure the exact path I was going to take.  As I listened, some of the old demons, patterns of speech, pedantry, and more started to come out.


And then he said it, AGAIN! "What's your plan B"?  And, in the blink of an eye, he fired me before I could even fire him. Talk about irony.


In the end, it was a good thing. A very good thing. The Happy Holly is back and raring to go. Bring on the next two book contracts, baby. That my friends, is my Plan A and my Plan B.

What's yours?