The Never-Ending Not-Good-Enoughs

I struggle a bit with believing in myself, I have life-long issues with never feeling good enough at just about everything and at nearly 57 I’m getting really fed up with constantly questioning my own credibility.

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and regret not doing things at all because I was always too afraid of not being good enough at them. And yet that’s what I do to myself all the time – in order to avoid feeling ‘not good enough’ by failing at something creative, instead I simply don’t try to do the thing in the first place. In my warped brain I have an age-old message telling me that in order for me to feel good enough it has to be total success or nothing, so invariably nothing it is. But ironically that turns out to be a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy – a default not good enough failure by the back door.

Take my latest creative inner battle ‘thing’ – drawing and painting. I really like drawing and painting, always have done since childhood but I haven’t actually done it in years because I know I won’t meet the exacting standard of perfection lodged in my brain, and I’m so afraid of being proved not good enough I avoid even trying to pick it up again. Basically I’m too scared of sucking at it to try. But yesterday I’d had enough of the never-ending not-good-enoughs, so I got out my old art stuff and just started painting. Not to try to be good at it, but to try to have fun with it – and I learned a few things about myself.

I’m generally my own worst critic, but when I finally got that inner voice to shut the fuck up and stop being a nit-picking spoil-sport I found overall I actually quite liked what I painted, imperfections and all.

My drawing and painting skills are understandably a bit rusty after pretty much a full adult lifetime of not using them but to be honest it seems I’m nowhere near as bad as I think I am.

I still have a reasonably good eye for colour and composition, and ok so my perspective needs some fine-tuning but underneath all my fretting and fear the fundamental basics are still there.

I understand that the world appears a certain way as captured in reality by the camera, but in my mind’s eye I may see it or choose to represent it slightly differently and that’s ok – I can change colours or proportions as I want and that’s absolutely fine by me. Everyone else can just take a running jump if they don’t like it.

My artwork, my choice… Oh, and while I’m at it I suppose it’s also my life, my choice, and always has been… Duh! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Credibility

3 thoughts on “The Never-Ending Not-Good-Enoughs

  1. I know exactly what your saying Ruth, I’m the same, I almost gave up after my first painting attempt! But then I decided with lots of encouragement from people on this forum to paint for my own enjoyment. My confidence then grew along with the constant repetition. Your photography is great, your colouring is brilliant because you do have a gift for matching colour pallets. Don’t self doubt yourself it’s exciting to step out of our comfort zones. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The great artists spent up to 20 years mastering their craft, and then the rest of their lives finding the perfect moment to stop. All the things in life that are creative need the consistency of practical application and acceptance of an apprenticeship/lead time before the result assumes the mantle of good enough.
    In the meantime, the confidence to keep moving forward usually also means losing the expectation of perfection — that word alone can stop the mind from seeing potential.

    Liked by 1 person

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