A comment on one of my posts the other day struck me. It was only three words:
“This is AWFUL!”
The awful thing is a 60-second video of me playing the violin. (In case you’re curious, here’s the video).
I laughed when I read the comment, but there was a time when it would not have been funny to me.
For decades I was filled with insecurity about my musical ability.
I would ruminate after performances, conversations, or emails I sent, beating myself up for perceived mistakes.
- I left projects unfinished
- I felt anxious
- it caused me to second guess career decisions
- I was making unfavorable comparisons to other people
- I was less present around my family.
The voice of my inner critic practically drowned out every other idea in my head.
A year ago I talked about this in a short video. I’d been exploring this subject for years through therapy, podcasts, books, etc.
A year ago Evan Gregor introduced me to a process that clicked for me. Watch the full video here (to skip the intro, FF to 2:42)
Working with Evan was a game-changer. Now I’m able to notice my inner critic coming up, and while I still see “mistakes” for what they are, I’m more able to regulate my emotions.
- I accept where I am at.
- Negative feedback, or other peoples’ opinions, don’t eat at me or hold me back like they use to.
The way I fixed this:
- Giving my insecurity a name
- learning, there’s nothing broken about me.
- Getting tools and processes that help me manage or resolve my insecurities.
I feel more hopeful and less stuck. I’m more present. I follow through and finish more projects. I enjoy life more.
If you’re tired of fighting with your inner critic, know this:
It’s common for musicians of all ages and abilities to feel anxious and//or conflicted as a result of self-doubting thoughts.
Many of my adult music students, career mentoring clients, and colleagues (including professional teachers and performers) struggle with insecurities. If this applies to you, you’re far from alone.
It may feel hard to acknowledge or call out. I personally feel that like with any 12-step program, healing begins with acknowledging the struggle. You don’t have to announce it to the world. Maybe start by acknowledging it quietly to yourself, and then sharing it with one person you trust.
If you’re like me, you may have had feelings of self-doubt for a long time. It is possible to overcome your inner critic by developing mindful techniques.
One way to do this as it relates to music is via weekly live guided practice sessions with me as part of the Creative Strings Workshop.
If your focus is on career and business, Evan addresses inner work in our support group Music Biz Mastermind.
Evan is leading a workshop devoted to calming your inner critic this week here. I’ll be there too.