The process and not the product
You worked really hard on something and it bombed.
- no one likes the dinner you made (including yourself)
- you sewed an outfit and it doesn’t fit
- your sweater has one sleeve that is 5 inches longer than the other one
- no one likes your story
- your friends and family don’t want to hear about your new project
- you got 3 rejections at once
- you step back from your painting and see a huge mistake
Even if no one likes what you have made, or it doesn’t come out the way you wanted it to, that does not mean that you wasted your time. It seems that way. You didn’t get what you wanted, which was a finished product, payment or recognition. True, but that experience of making, even if it was an epic failure, is better than inaction.
Creation of a disaster is better than passive, sleep-walking nothingness. Fear of rejection and embarrassment can block you from trying, and if you let it, will smother your spirit until you are not even sure who you are anymore.
There is a reason the movie Frozen resonates so much. Let your creative powers out. Sure, you could accidentally lock an entire valley into eternal winter, but the alternative of shoving down ability doesn’t work so well.
I have a poster in my office, of Thomas Edison. I look at it every time I feel discouraged, reminding me that it is only by making mistakes that we learn what doesn’t work.