"You say I turned out fine. I think I'm still turning out" - AJR
Got an email yesterday from @natgeo
telling me my application for a photography/videography grant exploring the evolution of empathy was not being recommended for funding. Not my first rejection, not my last.
The great thing about this is knowing I'm not good enough. A lot of the time people are all about "you're good enough" or "you can't care what people think" because a lot of time we can beat each other and ourselves up over not being good, pretty, thin, smart, athletic, creative, or whatever enough. And there's a time and place for accepting yourself, finding healthy levels, and having confidence. But sometimes it's good to know what's wrong, what work is not good enough, what people think as a way to guide yourself to better places/production, and understand why you are not good enough in the way that lets you say "I am not good enough yet, but I can be".
I always tell people I strive for perfection, knowing I won't attain it, but as an attitude it takes me to my limits rather than some appeasing area of low level success/trying to feel good enough as is. I'm always a work in progress and I'm fine with that, I just want to be constantly improving my work/craft/life is all. Sure, it makes me a little serious at times but is also the reason I've gotten to go see, do, learn, accomplish, and help so much.
That being said, I think the acceptance part comes from not having to earn relationships or love, constantly perform, from keeping high standards in check and remembering to have grace more than anything (but not using it as a way to make excuses for yourself). Relationally, it's about more than "earning it". No matter what I do in life though what keeps it fresh and fun and exciting is that it's something I get to do, not something I have to do. When I lose track of that is when I become tired or disappointed, but most of the time I just stay pumped on life, relationships, and asking for more even when it means a lot of rejection. Plus, how rad is it that I even got to the point where I got to be rejected by National Geographic... I'm pretty sure they'll say yes someday 😉