Here’s a story about craftgawker, and self esteem, and being human.
So, for those of you who don’t know, craftgawker is a site a lot like Pinterest in that it boasts a smattering of inspiring images just asking to be collected and clicked on. It’s truly a beautiful site if you have an eye for things created by hand.
However, I have learned recently that craftgawker is not like Pinterest in one noteworthy way: you have to submit your crafty posts for approval (two submissions at a time max). You can’t just pin things willy-nilly. Oh no. There’s a process. With clear winners and very clear losers.
Let me break it down for you with an analogy.
Pinterest : craftgawker :: youth-soccer-where-everyone-gets-a-trophy : the Olympics. Catch my drift?
Yesterday, in an effort to explore a new way of connecting with crafters, I made seven different submissions to craftgawker. Are you ready for the results?
Here is my golden child:
And my six rejects:
Now, as a courtesy, they do at least tell you why your submissions were rejected. Here’s a screenshot of my feedback for “declined” submissions:
Yeeska. Apparently, my photos have low-lighting issues, as well as “awkward angles,” which I can only discern to mean that they prefer shots to be straight on? Not from a 45 degree angle like my key hanger and wreath were.
Now, I know I have a lot to learn with photography – - in fact, it wasn’t until I started blogging two months ago that I even began to ask Mark about all the buttons on his fancy Cannon camera and learned about exposure, ISO, and shutter-speed.
So, why do I care so much what the anonymous judges at craftgawker think? Why did it bother me so much to receive their feedback? After all, I didn’t even really even know what craftgawker was until a few weeks ago.
Well, I did some reflecting, and I think that because there’s a submission process, craftgawker suddenly feels like this super elite club…and they let me in to one of their clubhouse meetings, but shut me out of six. Which makes me desperately want to be in the club again.
There’s an essay I read in college by one of the wisest men to ever walk this earth, C. S. Lewis. It’s called “The Inner Ring,” and it speaks directly to the topic of exclusivity and our futile quest to “belong.”
One of the most dominant elements [in our lives] is the desire to be inside the local Ring and the terror of being left outside.
Apparently, that insecurity that plagued me (and probably most of us!) during my early school days is still within me – - to a lesser degree, but it’s still there. That desire to be in the “cool” crowd. To receive approval by those who judge “cool.”
If you stop and look, there are inner rings everywhere we turn. In the workplace. On Facebook. Even at church. I thought that as an adult, we’d grow out of them…but we don’t. We’re still so very fragile and so very human. So very starving to find a position on the “inside.”
What to do? Lewis says it well.
The quest of the Inner Ring will break your hearts unless you break it.
[Now, this is the part in the story where I talk to myself in the voice of Coach Eric Taylor from the critically-acclaimed TV series, Friday Night Lights...and to anyone else who needs to hear it.]
- Remember why you do what you do. When you start to do things for the sake of others’ approval, your work will suffer. Your heart will ache to no end.
- Strive to create spaces in your life that are open to all, not exclusive and ostracizing. Because let’s be honest, being an outsider sucks!
- And take the feedback for what it is – - feedback on something you did – - not who you are as a person.
- Make sure not let the voices of the world rise above the voice of God. He is the beginning and the end. And if he says you matter, you matter. No matter how many rejections you receive from craftgawker or anyone else. Got it?
Okay, Coach. I think I got it.
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To read C. S. Lewis’s “The Inner Ring” in its entirety, click here.