A stamper wrote that she enters a lot of challenges and never wins. Her attempts to get on design teams have failed. She buys a lot from a couple of companies hoping to get the companies' attention. They have ignored her efforts. She is crushed and angry and clueless as to why this is happening.
I read this and winced.
We all wince when we recognize that feeling -- failure is hard. It is even harder when you have no idea why you are being rejected. No one posts a comment that says "no focal point" "messy layers" "too many colors". We are nice to each other in internet land, and that is as it should be. So it is hard to learn unless we are willing to ask. By the way, I'm not asking!
However, once I did ask.
It was the practice in my high school to go to the principal and share your SAT scores with her. I knocked on Sr. Ellen's door and walked in. My scores were mediocre, and I was unhappy, particularly since I was a strong student in an academically rigorous high school. I wanted to know why my scores weren't higher. Not skipping a beat, Sr. Ellen looked me in the eye and told me that I wasn't very smart -- that my good grades were the result of my hard work, not my native intelligence. She did not say this with admiration -- almost pity. I left her office stunned. I remember thinking "I thought I was smart but I'm not."
So here's my message to the stamper who feels the stun of rejection or failure. Maybe you are like I am. I've never been the best in the room at anything I've ever tried. I'm not the star anything, except perhaps when making brownie cheesecake. But even with my limitations, my humanity, I've succeeded when it really mattered -- in my heart I know that I have loved and am loved. The rest, including card making and SAT scores and blunt principals, is gravy.
So, if you can find it in yourself to enjoy stamping without winning, pick up that ink pad and stamp. And relax and enjoy it. Smile. And smile again and again, knowing that you are doing something you enjoy. Sometimes mixing a hobby with competition just doesn't work. Not everyone gets on a design team or gets an 800 in card making. But everyone can get get an 800 in sending a card to a friend or a stranger, knowing that it will bring a smile to that person.
You be the judge on who the winner is in that competition.