Sunday, December 5, 2010

Magical Moment 304, "Protecting My Self from Fear"

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." -Eleanor Roosevelt

I have many fears. One of my worst fears, is that one day I will discover that I am not a talented musician. I don't possess the qualities necessary to become successful in this field, and all my hard work, commitment, time, and energy will have been wasted on a meaningless quest that never stood a chance in the first place.

This is why I take it so very hard when I feel someone has insulted me in this area. I once received a youtube comment to the effect of, "That piece should be played a little faster." I took this to mean, "You suck, you have no talent." Irrational, untrue, ridiculous! I am terrified that this is true however, and I'm very conscious of people's words, reactions, even glances that may imply its validity. 

I discovered this revelation by accident today and I related it to my other life phobias. In the Army, I was worried that I wouldn't be a strong enough leader, despite my tireless efforts to prove myself. And so with every criticism, no matter how large or small, I was petrified that they were confirming what I was afraid of. This can't be true! I won't let this be true. And so instead, YOU must have the problem. You are critical, unfair, or outright rude. So often, it was my perception based off an irrational fear that caused this thought process, and maybe not fact or reality.

Now sometimes people were this way. One particular case, I vented to a friend who gently asked, "Is he that way to everyone, or just you?" The honest answer was everyone. I was not being singled out as I had built it up in my head. And that helped me to let go and not take it so personal. 

In the end, we're all responsible for our own actions and reactions to the world, and the imperfect people within it. It can be difficult to weed out lies from truth. I do know I am a good musician, and if there are times when I doubt it, there are a few honest people I trust to tell me so. Not strangers on youtube or barely-there acquaintances. I must always have a sense of my "self," and know that "self." I mean really know it, or like a flimsy house of cards, it will come crashing down at the slightest puff of wind.