Feeling like you’re not good enough

The lovely Rebecca is sharing a vulnerable, open look into her life and what failure means to her.

Rebecca Brown

Rebecca, born in Sweden, lives just outside of Edinburgh. She has been writing a daily journal since the age of 7, and found the Get Messy community three years ago whilst looking for ways to visually add to her words. She is VERY messy, but chaotically organised, striving to be imperfectly perfect (learning to embrace the result whatever the perceived failings).

Why are you drawn to failure in art journaling?

It is more that failure is drawn to me. What I mean is, I never want to fail – it happens regardless…

Why is failure important?

Failing gives us a reference point, a way of making us aware of things, techniques and ideas that we not yet have a complete grasp of. It pushes us to go beyond … to learn.

What happens when we actively seek failure?

Knowledge is power- and knowing what went wrong (or not according to plan) is an important step in the right direction (if that is where you are wanting to go).

What can failure do to our art?

It can only make it better. It really is that simple, however this still doesn’t mean that failure (or feeling of failure) isn’t hard to overcome.

What is your personal experience with failure in art journaling?

I constantly feel as if I’m not good enough, not talented enough, not worthy of other people’s admiration. I am, however, extremely stubborn and have learnt to push through regardless. Take my handwriting for example. It’s pretty awful; I have always wanted to write beautifully. Bought several books on the subject (8 to be exact), but haven’t opened any one of them… I’ve been too scared to even start!

What do you do when you feel like you’ve failed?

I normally spend some time wallowing in my feelings. Then I take a step back; sometimes ignoring the page completely and sometimes trying to figure out what went wrong.

How do you overcome perfectionism?

Being innately stubborn helps. Otherwise, it’s a case of telling myself, often, to let things go, to enjoy the DOING more than the end result.

What advice would you give to someone who struggles with perfectionism?

I would say that aiming high and doing your best is always a good thing. As long as, in the back of your mind, you accept that “perfect” does not exist. It is a wholly biased collective opinion, based on other people’s repeated failures (and thereby their accrued knowledge)!

This is my absolute very first art journaling attempt, done (I think) about 6 years ago. I’d borrowed a book from the library and tried to follow the instructions… It ended up looking like mud and I almost packed it in. My intense need to be creative kept me at it and the second photo shows my second ever page – much better, but still nowhere near what I was aiming for. It was when I found the Get Messy community that it all clicked into place: the support, the shared knowledge, the friendships formed, it’s all made me a much better artist – comfortable and capable of learning through perceived imperfection.

This last photo shows a page I did (I think) from one of the prompts in the Season of Gifts. I really, really didn’t like it, never showed it to anyone and blocked it from my memory. Going through my journals, to find some examples, I came across it again- and do you what? I don’t hate it anymore!!!

Life and learning is an extraordinary thing – made so much better by finding like minded people.

Answer these questions yourself

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How do you feel about failure in art journaling?

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Why is failure important?

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What happens when we actively seek failure?

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What can failure do to our art?

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What is your personal experience with failure in art journaling?

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What do you do when you feel like you’ve failed?

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How do you overcome perfectionism?

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What advice would you give to someone who struggles with perfectionism?

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