How To Overcome the Inner Critic

Christina Augilara on the Voice said one of the most important things singers need to remember:

"Yes the voice is important, but the playfulness and the fun is almost more important....to sell it with all your soul."


Most singers forget this and start taking themselves too seriously, thinking that they can beat their voice into shape... but it doesn't work. Especially if it's not fun.  If singing is no longer fun and you're not enjoying yourself, but want to build true vocal confidence, this article is for you!

The thought impressed upon the mind is like a seed in the soil...what are you creating?


Naturally, the voice carries the energy, power and essence of our thoughts. Unfortunately, many of us don't have very nice thoughts about our voice. We're afraid that if we actually give ourselves credit for sounding good, that we might be wrong and look silly.

It all began when we were young and free and vocally expressive at the top of our little growing lungs, when some OTHER person unexpectedly came up to us and said something painful to us, like, “Oh, you’re making too much noise, be quiet!” Whether it happened to us, or we saw somebody else go through this humiliation, we chose at this pivotal moment, to never endure this sort of pain again. Our solution: to allow that “critical voice” that initially came from somebody else, to enter our mind and become us. We figured this voice would protect us. “I’ll make sure I catch my mistakes before anybody else can!” We thought. So we hired an “inner critic” and allowed it to go to work!  Pretty soon, we forgot that the “inner critic” was just a defense mechanism, and we started to believe everything it said, as if it were us! 

“Inner verbal abuse is destructive behavior”

What we failed to realize was that every time that inner critic spoke within us, we recreated that same pain and fear we had that first day we felt criticized from someone else, or watched them get criticized!  So our plan to protect our voice literally became a jeopardizing tool that chipped away at our inner peace and freedom, slowly leading us to...

 

WAIT! It is so unlike me to get all depressing like that!

O.K. What can we do to overcome the inner critic (which is found in the left hemisphere of the brain)?

How about FIRING it, since we hired it for no good reason in the first place! How about creating something new to believe in that might actually do some good and get us the vocal confidence we want?

“I’ve been letting this negative inner-dialogue dominate my thoughts for years - and now all of a sudden, I’m expected to get rid of it?  HOW?”

Tips for firing the “INNER CRITIC”


1. Realize: inner dialogue is never neutral; It’s either helping us or hurting us. Why not choose the helpful path?

2.  Approach the voice from where it’s at NOW. Not, “When I can sing five octaves,” but right now.  As you allow yourself to sound the way you do now, every time you sing, your voice is allowed to get better, because the positive feeling you attach to accepting your voice makes it safe for it to expand.

3.  We only experience what we can conceptualize. Instead of thinking, “What if I mess up?” Try playing the “what if “ game to your advantage. Example: “What if when I sang, I sounded and felt amazing and hit all the notes with ease?” You can visualize your singing success any time you want, and in this way, you’re hiring an inner-Febi. Replace that negative voice with a positive one!

4. Surround yourself with positive people - if you’re around people who don’t like themselves or treat themselves right, then how are they going to know how to treat you? Singers are sensitive people in a tough industry. We need all the support we can get, so why not be around people who will help you be kind to yourself?

5. Don’t compare yourself to other singers. We are all born with completely unique instruments. Know and appreciate what you have.


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