Life is full of responsibilities and information that sometimes contradict the who and how we want to be. While I don't think I would make a good hermit, sometimes the idea seems so inviting, if only to cut down on the conflicts and obligations of day to day living. The toughest part for me is having others tell me what they think I'm doing wrong, or how they think I should be acting differently. So you can imagine what a challenge it is to go through the editing process as the book is taking its final shape.
I'll admit that not every sentence of that work is a gem, and I appreciate the clarity of a fresh eye helping me to avoid redundancies. The struggle to express myself as clearly as possible in a way that benefits a cross section of readers, is ongoing. It is hard to set aside the jargon of my profession in favor of more general terms to present complex ideas, and harder yet to slash some of those ideas to avoid overloading those readers. But that is the point of having an editor, and it makes the end-product more worthwhile. Still, my vulnerable creative Parts cringe at being critiqued, and my trauma expert Parts get their feathers ruffled when the language and ideas I've struggled to represent are questioned or dismissed.
It is good to remember that we don't all see things the same way, despite (in this case) having the same long run goal (a worthy read). When others disagree with us it can be useful to consider their perspective in order to stay flexible, and to reexamine our own point of view in the light of new information. Such challenges offer a learning edge and help us to grow. On the other hand there is opportunity to reclaim with new energy those elements of truth in our own lives, despite contrasting ideas, offering greater clarity and steadfastness to our efforts.
Striking a balance between my internally held ideas and the comments or questions of others has become easier through the years of my own trauma recovery. I have survived cancer, raised my kids, helped clients in their recovery, and read the experts over decades of changing ideas about development and health. I have learned that truth is shaped by experiences, rather than fact based, and reactions are often shaped by adaptation to past hurts. Trusting my instincts and examining my own reactivity has allowed me to accept challenges by others, without the automatic response being to give-up or give-in.
As I move into the final read through of Unkind Gifts before releasing it to make its own way in the world, I will stay true to my convictions, while honoring the different ways readers may take in and take on the ideas I have to offer. I will trust myself to say what is important, while holding space for others to seek their own grasp on what is offered. I will ask my vulnerable parts to remain open to critique to find the learning edge. And I will keep the "E" (for Ellen) in the Edit by representing my best Self, not just of the book, but in the lifelong process of growth and change in a complex world.