As the first of the 58 lessons I've learned in my life that I'll be sharing here in conjunction with my upcoming birthday, I'll refer to a recent, unpleasant experience.
I've written (here and here) about my rejection for admission to a professional honor society. On the advice of someone who knows me well, I wrote more broadly about the experience. During the process I came to see how my ego and expectations set me up for this hurt.
I also acknowledged, for the first time, that I had done my absolute best while applying. I spent the time to craft my documents. I repeatedly revised and resubmitted them based on feedback I received. I also had reached out to colleagues I hadn't been in touch with in some cases for years to solicit their support. I was nervous, even apprehensive, about doing so. Their kind words were gratifying. By themselves they justified my effort.
I put in a lot of time. I'm proud of my effort and what I produced. Most importantly, I'm comforted by it. The sting of the outcome is dissipating.
My bottom line is that all I can do is my best. I know it won't meet everyone's standards or expectations. That's okay. I gave it my all. And I can learn and do even better the next time.
I'll never be perfect. My work will never be perfect. But it will be as good as I can make it at that time. That's all I can ever hope to accomplish.