Turn Off Your Critic
Today in my singing class while one student was performing the teacher kept repeating: “Let it go, let it out. Turn off your critic!” The singer started again. “No, no, no!”, the teacher yelled, “Turn off your critic! Stop thinking of what you can do and just do it!”. All of a sudden, a transformation happened. It seemed like someone just flipped the switch and out of nowhere came a strong and clear voice that made me almost lose it and cry in front of everyone. What the hell happened?!
It hit me. Most of the time we are not scared to underperform and be judged by others because those others don’t really have anything to compare you to. We are scared of ourselves. If you are performing a song, it is the first time the audience hears it so to them that’s the standard. But you tend to be dissatisfied because you know you can do better. How many times when somebody told you a compliment you brushed it off thinking: “How can he/she think I look good? I can look so much better than this”. That’s because you know you, and you have high expectations of yourself. Others make judgements more objectively and don’t overthink. Another example is when somebody takes your picture and thinks that it turned out well. What are the chances you are going to say: “Oh my God, this looks great, my skin is very radiant and my smile is very cute!” No, it’s probably going to be something like: “Jesus, look at my giant nose and my shiny forehead, delete immediately and please drown your phone in lake Michigan to destroy any evidence”. What happens is you let your insecurities stop you from being your best self. But who suffers from this in the end? That’s right. You!
You are your own worst critic. You know why? Because nobody else knows you or cares as much as you care about yourself. It’s true. Not even your parents or loved ones. And it is totally normal because self-preservation is the strongest instinct one possesses. The desire to be better is a part of that instinct. It’s evolution, baby, only the best will survive. While it is ok to strive for improvement, the inside critic can also become your biggest enemy. He can motivate you and throw you on the ground. The critic sets the expectations so high you get scared that you can never reach them. And that’s when the insecurities take over and instead of doing better you do the exact opposite.
We are all scared. What calms me is knowing that every single person I meet has the same issue with the inside critic. It’s like a disease that everyone has, but nobody talks about it. Nobody wakes up being super confident and feeling amazing, and even somebody does that means they’ve done the work, saw the issue and resolved it within themselves. It is okay to be insecure and want to be better. It is not ok to stop yourself from succeeding because of your insecurities. My music teacher said that you perform the best, when you say: “Fuck it” and just do what you can while enjoying the process. So say “Fuck it” and just show what you have without constantly criticizing yourself. Turn the critic off! Tell him to chill in the corner while you show the world what you got.