I've been singing in front of people all my life. I get nervous when I'm up there. I get even more nervous when I'm singing in front of singers.
Well, why do any of us get nervous? I get nervous because I think they are thinking unkind things about me. I think they are noticing every note that is slightly off, every word slurred, every time I get off beat, and I think they are judging me for it.
I think these things because I've been around musician who sit there and unfavorably critique performances.
But what's more, I think these things because *I* have sat there and critiqued performances.
Oh, I try not to. I try to enjoy, I try to love and support, I try to fight the dark, judgmental thoughts that enter my head. I succeed a lot more these days, but I still fight them. I hate that I still have to fight, I don't want to be this way.
So naturally I've feared those dark thoughts in the heads of others.
But that thinking is on me too, and it's time that I accepted this. If my dark thoughts while others perform are my problem, then their dark thoughts while I perform are their problem.
No matter how badly I do, no matter how sharp or flat, or even perfect or flawed, my performance is, what people think during it, what they feel during it, that's on them.
I need to let that be on them.
Of course I will continue to work on my own ability to listen with love and not judgment. Maybe this realization I had this morning will help me with that. Maybe I just opened the door to a whole new world of music for myself.
Maybe, just maybe, I'll even be able to listen to recordings of myself and not hate every moment of it. Maybe even I will be able to actually enjoy hearing myself sing. Maybe I'll even get to the point with myself that I'm at with listening to my dear friend Kim, where I forget every tiny mistake because I'm too busy crying over the resplendent beauty of her playing.
I kind of laughed at myself just now. All this time I've been able to love Kim's music unconditionally, and I haven't been able to do the same for my own.
Sigh, oh how far I have to go... and yet... I'm so thankful for how far I've just come.
Thank you Heavenly Father, you're right, I needed this.