“Critical thoughts tore through my mind like a tornado demolishing everything in its path. “
“Shallow breath. My mind races.
“Did I do enough? Was I enough?”
I feel faint.
I bust open the bathroom door. Dry heaving over the toilet, tears well in my eyes.
“That was terrible. Ugh, why do I even try?
Why do I do this to myself? I can’t sing.”
This was me 15 years ago.
I had just performed at my third vocal recital and I felt deflated, defeated and defiled by my own critical thoughts!
Minus that one aunt who told me I couldn’t even sing happy birthday, my family has always been very supportive!
But my family couldn’t make it that day and despite mostly positive reinforcement, my thoughts leapt to that one negative comment I had received. Critical thoughts tore through my mind like a tornado demolishing everything in its path. I learned a very important lesson that day, my mind is wired for negativity… and it’s to be expected. And I needed to actively rewire my mind and heart if I were ever to get myself up from dry-heaving over the toilet, out of the bathroom and back to the lights of a stage. Fast forward 15 years and I’ve done some work.
I’ve taken action on my dreams. I’m about to release my original album and have 12+ years of coaching vocals, and songwriting, for musical artists like me. I still hear these thoughts every once in a while, but now I always take action.
So here are 5 ways to beat self-criticism and step into artistic freedom!
- Give yourself an affirmative anthem!
A few years ago, I wrote a song called, “I am Enough”. It is going to be featured on my new album! And it is my anthem. Whenever I feel the familiar old opposite thought, I sing my anthem, “I am enough.” I say it as many times as I need to. Music is powerful. And whether you consider yourself musical or not, you’ve got the power to create a new pathway in your brain. Go for it!
- Take action!
Rewiring your brain is not easy. But you know what makes it easier? Taking action on the things that scares you! Action negates fear. And it doesn’t have to be big. It can be small! That was not my last recital. I practiced my next song in the safety of my own home and I participated in many more. And now, I do them online with my following!
- Prioritize a plan!
Have you ever heard, “We make time for what is important to us?” Well for many part time artists with careers and family, our own artistry can fall to the side. Your time priorities have to be so intimately intertwined with your vision for artistic freedom, that even your procrastination thoughts have to give you some respect!
- Share your work and invest in a community or a coach!
I don’t necessarily say this because I am a coach. I say this because I am a recovering lone wolf! I’ve totally been that artist hoarding all my songs to myself. And you know what? It was cool for a little bit of time. But at some point, I felt artistically constipated! Yup, it was the OPPOSITE of artistic freedom. It was not until I decided to finish my album that I felt freedom again. I attribute that to the community I’ve built around me who cheer me on and the coaches I have in my life that have equipped me with the skills to be brave. For me, letting down my walls and sharing has been what has unlocked personal and artistic freedom.
- Get vulnerable and receive support.
As a recovering lone wolf artist, I know what it’s like to do it on my own. But I eventually learned a lot of my hiding stemmed from my own ego. I was scared I wasn’t good enough… AGAIN. The thoughts are always there;As I started to receive support, compliments and feedback, artistic freedom actually became a lot more fun and rewarding!
I have the privilege of building a community around my music and working with artists just like me! If this spoke to you, I’d love to hear from you. Reach out! Visit my website for more info: https://jesseallenstudio.mymusicstaff.com/Contact-M.