What submitting to journals and anthologies does for me is that it makes me more confident about the submission process. Becoming familiar with the process makes rejection hurts less. Over the last few years I’ve received a ton of rejections but my acceptances are nearly as many. On one occasion, I received a rejection and two acceptances all in the same day.
I am confident enough, now, to send my work to some biggies: Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Ploughshares, Alaska Quarterly Review, but with no luck so far.