June 15, 2016

Who are you talking to?

So, there we sat, a fledgling harper and I, having lunch.  She’s had a number of distractors in her life, all of them good and important (children, health, work…you know, life!) and therefore has not had as much time for the harp as she probably envisioned when she took it up.

Our conversation was peppered with her self-assessments of her ability to play and included words like:
  • Stink
  • Bad
  • Terrible
  • No talent
  • Never going to get better

And others that were not as polite.  We laughed about it, but why?  What a bunch of hooey for one thing – we all know that we need constant, gentle pressure to form into the musical diamonds we wish to be – if that heat and pressure don’t happen, we don’t transform!

But more importantly, who would ever say something like that to someone?!?!  It is not only mean, it is demeaning.  It is also impolite (and we can all do with more politeness!)  

Stop it!  Just lay off!  When you hear yourself begin to pick on you, stand up to your inner bully – you wouldn’t allow someone to pick on your children, so you need to be sure that you don’t allow you to pick on you!!

When you hear the litany begin you can do one or all of the following to stop that negative self-talk and get back to focusing on your practice:
  1. Ask yourself if what you said is really true? Or is it just a habit?  You know it’s not true, but you might have conditioned yourself to go along with it.
  2. Ask yourself if you are being realistic?  Could anyone learn an entire concerto, memorize it and play it to perfection after the first run through?  Nope, so knock it off!
  3. I like variations on, “If you wouldn’t say it to a child/your mother/your best friend, then stop”
Instead, ask yourself how your favorite Harp Hero, mentor or teacher would handle the situation?  Would they berate you, call you names and grimace? Not if they are good teachers!  They’d say something gentle, thoughtful, caring and supportive – do that instead!

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Good thoughts even for the harper out of the beginner nest for a while. Always good to take a look back at where you once were and be proud of how far you have come. I need to do this more often. Thanks for the reminder, Jen!