Driving to my son’s preschool this morning, we stopped by the store for some perfectly plump, lusciously red, expectantly juicy strawberries for my fruit salad tonight. I meticulously looked through each container and came across what I determined to be the best looking berries.

Confident in my decision and proud of the standing ovation that I would receive (in my own mind) from husband and children alike, I loaded my son into his carseat and headed to preschool.

A half-mile later, the driver in front of me was so distracted by the growth of a cell phone protruding from his ear, that he failed to notice the brake lights in front of him. He screeched to a stop, I slammed my brakes and instinctively grabbed toward my son in the backseat, and my perfect little strawberries went flying.

Image by swirus71 on sxc.hu

Luckily, there was no vehicular collision, but I can’t say the same for my strawberries.

When I got home, I took them from their packaging, washed them, and started slicing. This is an old trick I learned while growing up with a large garden… a bruised fruit or vegetable is contagious. The bruise works like a cancer in the body. If left untended, the bruise will take over the whole fruit and turn what once was a perfect specimen into a very nasty mush. But if you go ahead and slice and dice it, eat it, or prep it… the bruise does not have time to spread.

As I sliced, I thought about how true that is of my own life as a wife, a mother, a woman, a writer, and as a friend. We are bound to have failures. As a wife, I burn dinners, I fail to remember a request of my spouse, or I say something stupid more often than I should. As a mom, I catch myself snapping, I complain about my kids not listening, and I feel disappointment in grades, laziness, or illnesses. As a woman, I have been on a massive weight loss journey (140 pounds lost! WooHOO!) and every time I make a bad food choice, those little voices of failure creep into my thought pattern. As a writer, rejections just come with the territory. And as a friend, I have been hurt more times than I want to remember, and I am certain that I have been the offender just as frequently whether I knew it or not. Whether it was betrayal by gossip, by misinformation, or by being judged by other people for the choices that I make, I have learned the hard way that people (especially women) can leave nasty bruises.

The trick is to not let the rejection fester and take over the healthy aspects of my life. Instead I have to acknowledge the failure and move forward. I have to let it go.

I am still in the process of learning what that looks like in my life. Of course, I still catch that negative voice in my conscience trying to bring me down, but I think that my developing self-esteem will be the perfect knife to keep on hand to remove the bruises before they fester.