Monday, February 18, 2013

{REJECTION} ACCEPTANCE

by Carol A.


I have never been confrontational. I’m not much of a risk-taker. I think of myself as pretty sensitive. In my younger years, rejection knocked me right out of the ballpark, and often kept me from trying. Recently, I entered a photo competition that I have been in before. Three of my photography buddies got accepted to it, and took prizes. One friend won Best In Show! My entries were not accepted. As my friends called excitedly to tell me they’d made it in, each was clearly kind when they heard I had not. They toned down their excitement, they said how much they had enjoyed my photos –they were empathetic, defensive for me and careful with their words. What lovely gestures! But do you know what I felt inside? I felt completely and honestly proud for my friends, and not the least bit poorly about myself. When did this happen? When did previously insecure me learn how to handle rejection?

I think part of it is  maturity – a lot of little life lessons that have sunk in along the way. Maybe, at this age,not caring as much about what other people think, or understanding better who I am. It’s also having found my true passion, and about enjoying the journey. It's about realizing that age is a blessing.

But mostly, it’s realizing that I am learning and practicing a skill. I am learning the rules of photography, and many of my photo outings are to work on a particular aspect of it. When I see the progress in my work since I started 4 years ago, I see how I am developing a skill. When I wrote my post on attempting drawing a few weeks ago, I mentioned that there were rules to drawing, just there are rules for photography. I’ve watched the cooking channels and seen that when given weird ingredients, the contestants use food rules to combine them into tasty dishes. I have a friend who is a professional artist.  People often say to her “oh you are so lucky to be born talented!” She’s confided that internally, her reaction to that sentence is conflicted – while she’s happy she has talent and passion, she says that the sentence implies it was all just dropped in her lap, and does not take into account her lifetime of work on her skills.




What I’ve found is that when you enjoy the process of creating, and the lifelong journey towards improving what and how you create, “rejection,” with it’s defeating connotations, has no place in the process. You have not failed, you have just attempted something new – which furthers your journey. As our FOL member Kelly (from mindingmynest.com) said in the comment section of my drawing post, instead of saying “I can’t" do something, from now on, just say “I haven’t mastered all the rules yet.” It’s really not a mystery – it’s a step along  your particular skill-path forward. That’s why I changed the title of this post above. It’s not about rejection – it’s about acceptance.





enjoy the journey




"I read those letters of rejection years later and I agreed with those editors."
Carl Sandburg








15 comments:

Karen @ away for the weekend said...

Thank you so much for this post, and good for you to be able to feel acceptance rather than resentment. I'm still a newbie to the rules of photography, and am enjoying learning, but often feel discouraged when I'm not happy with the way my photos turn out. You have inspired me to keep plugging away, work on the rules, and appreciate what I'm learning along the way.

Katie said...

I think learning how to deal with rejection is essential to learning a new skill---you can learn so much from it, especially when you're a perfectionist such as myself. It's just like learning how to walk when we were all babies: lots of tumbles, but if you learn to laugh and to figure out what went wrong, then those tumbling steps will turn into a graceful dance before you know it.

heyjudephotography said...

I love this post Carol. I too have learned over the years that if I do what i love and believe in it and myself that's what is important. If other things come out of my creative process, great, but I focus on the 'doing' and 'believing' part. Very positive and inspiring post.

Nancy said...

I appreciate this post so much....I struggle not to compare myself with those of you who have been practicing your art for many years and to realize I have to pay my dues as well....The point is to enjoy the journey while I am getting better at my craft and just enjoy those of you who are further along the journey....

terriporter said...

Such a great post, Carol! I think as photographers we all struggle not to compare ourselves to others. It helps to look back and see how far I've come and compare myself to myself alone and not to anybody else. As Kelly said, I'm still mastering the rules!

Linda said...

Such a good post Carol! I still compare myself to others too often, even though I know better! An old habit!
Putting yourself out there by entering contests and such is part of the process and it's a big part! It's a big step toward the day when all your photos are accepted and you take the grand prize! It'll happen! I know it will!

xo,
Linda

Dotti said...

This is such sage advice, Carol ... and not just for photographers and artists. It applies to all aspects of our lives. Accept ourselves and embrace the journey called "life" ... even as we work at mastering the rules!

Dotti said...

BTW - I love that top photo! Talk about a serendipitous find!

Ahayes1225 said...

I love the top photo also. Wonderful post, we are all learing.

kelly said...

so much truth here carol. and like everyone has said, i am finding that i enjoy the journey so more when i'm not comparing myself (and my word) to others. thank you for the shout-out and thank you for sharing yourself with all of us. :) love, kelly

Kim Stevens said...

Such a great post Carol, and I think most importantly we have to remember that when we use our voice and our passion in the most authentic way we can, being ourselves...not comparing to others we will also know that 30% of the people will like us, 30% of them will not, and 30% won't care...and that's okay. (my husband reminds me of this all the time, haha) And not being accepted for a show is NOT a reflection of your art, just someone else's perspective, which is relative, and just maybe not what they were specifically looking for in that show. And like everyone before me has said, when you do something because you love it and not to be "accepted", it makes the journey that much better. xo

Carol said...

Thank you all for your warm responses - I agree with each one!

Roxi -Coppercurls Designs said...

One must please themselves. I'm going to forward this to my camera friends. Your photo is awesome by the way. I'd put it on MY wall.

Jeanne said...

Good for you just enjoying the journey, and photography is such an amazing journey with so much to learn, and so fun learning it. Think that your photography is lovely though....just please yourself and enjoy the process!

stephmull said...

I so admire you, Carol! What an awesome post! And I love how you put the rejection in perspective with the process. Such a good thing to learn and to remember. Thanks for the inspiration!

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