NEGATIVE SELF-TALK AND SINGING: WHAT YOU MUST KNOW
By Margaret Lampasi
What is negative self-talk? It’s talking down to yourself. It can be either spoken out loud or silently believed inside. Saying such things as, “I can’t do anything well” is one example. Negative self-talk in singing can be: “People say I sound good, but I don’t believe them.” Or, “I don’t have much talent, so what’s the use in trying to learn singing?” Negative beliefs like this are insidious, and they must be both recognized and addressed.
Put simply, negative self-talk and singing are ill-matched bedfellows. Rather than a recipe for success, their mix is one for dissatisfaction, and dare I say an F word, unnecessary Failure (and I emphasize unnecessary!). Or call it another name: a self-fulfilling prophecy.
I know these are strong words, but you need to know that if you engage in it, negative self-talk is an enemy to your singing voice. Why? Because it assaults your confidence. And guess what? The element of confidence has a fair amount to do with becoming a better singer.
Confidence and Singing
Confidence can sound pretty black and white. Either you have it or you don’t, right? Well, not exactly.
I prefer to think of confidence as two things: having some modicum or bit of positive self-regard, and the belief that you can do or create good, valuable or worthy things.
Notice I say a “bit” of positive self-regard, and not a huge, mega amount. You’re actually quite far along if you already have some aspects of your self, activities, or life that you actually like and enjoy.
Confidence doesn’t have to be something grand or grandiose, or puffed up and faked. And certainly it isn’t so far-fetched or out of reach. Everyone can build up some confidence in natural and gradual ways.
SOME confidence is actually more desirable than OVER-confidence. Overconfidence is something that blocks a person from being open to input, which could actually help in their growth.
Actually, if you ask me: Overconfidence is more a liability than lack of it is.
The problem with overconfident people is they can’t be a little vulnerable and admit to weakness or not knowing something. They can’t just be a little human like the rest of us. But know that overconfidence is actually a big inflated cover-up. Even if such people puff themselves up so big, it’s only to compensate for their deep inner feeling of worthlessness. Those overconfident people are actually more insecure than you are in your lack of confidence! Yes, go figure.
The tragedy is this sort of person actually isolates him or herself from others in real ways and closes the door to learning, but that’s another subject. The key here is: You don’t ever want to become over-confident and flaunt how great you are, that will only isolate you.
But what does that have to do with lack of confidence in singing? Your lack of confidence is a strength. Say what?
Good news – You’re further along than you think!
Ultimately, singing is about self-expression and connecting with others. It is not about drowning other people out with false pride or your voice, nor is it about competitiveness. And know that singing just to yourself for your own enjoyment, is just as valuable as singing for others!
Simply, singing is about getting in touch with your own humanity, your feelings, what moves you whether that be a cause, beauty, sheer creativity, a sense of fun, or some other ideas that you value.
Turning around lack of confidence is A LOT easier than toning down an inflated self-image. Think about that! I hope that helps you gain a little confidence, that you are actually further along than you think. This is partly because you’re open to learning. Not only is this the best attitude to have, it’s an absolute necessity to becoming a better singer! It means you are willing and able to say, “I don’t know, but I want to explore and find out more.”
The power of singing
♥ Singing is about feeling, expressing and sharing what is alive in you with others or yourself in both simple and real ways. Rather than hiding behind the idea that you must be perfect, you allow yourself to be a bit exposed as a feeling and thinking human being.
♥ This is the power of singing: to bring people together in meaningful or simply, enjoyable ways. There’s nothing better in our society for generating hope, connection or even catharsis. There are few things that compare to it.
What is vulnerable or human in me touching and speaking to what is human and vulnerable in you through the languages of music and words. And because singing uses both words and literal vibrations, its expressiveness is often felt powerfully and viscerally. Both receiver and giver benefit, and that’s the greatest boon of all—for all of us!
Singing offers ways for us to connect with our shared human experience here. We have more in common than not. You, as a citizen of this planet, have more worth and more to give others than you think. One of the gifts you have to enjoy or give—however humble or elaborate—might very well be your voice and your personal expression through song.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
Think you can’t sing? Well, think again! Singing is just a skill like any other. Which means it can be learned. And everyone can learn how! Read more about lessons to help you gain confidence and learn to sing >>>