Talking Out Loud: Beating Negative Self-Talk
I am often trapped in my own thoughts. This has been revealed in prayer and meditation. A thought comes into my mind and I chase it. Then with that thought comes another thought and I chase that. Pretty soon, I am lost in thought and the end result is distraction and unproductive practicing.
If you are like me, oftentimes when I get lost it thought it's negative. It's thinking about regrets, mistakes and then comes the voice inside that criticizes and tears down!
When practicing the piano, I have found that talking out loud helps. I focus on using words that I use to encourage others - my students, colleagues, family, and friends. We are often the worst coach for ourselves.
I am also practical and ask questions like: Can you hear the melody? How is the voicing going?
I get excited with statements like: Wow, what an incredible opportunity to sit and play this miracle piece! Bruh, that fingering is sick!
I encourage myself: Great job! You are working hard! Let's focus on getting better.
Counting the rhythm out loud helps too. But, counting should always be done expressively. By the inflection of the voice we should show the phrase shape and direction of the beat. It should not be static because rhythm is full of life.
And - sing! sing! sing! Singing gets us to come out of our thoughts. It also helps us to listen deeply to the music. Singing has come back in a big way in my practicing through solfege.
The main point is that I can get lost in thought. I use external devices like talking out loud to encourage and grow and focus in a practice session.
Application to Life!
So think about the ways in which you deal with yourself on a day to day basis.
How hard are you on yourself? Think about it. If you are crushing yourself in negative self-talk all day, no wonder you are nervous and anxious about making that presentation or going for that interview.
If you are tearing yourself down inside over the way you look, no wonder you start out on a workout plan and then give up because you are not meeting your own cruel expectations. Ask, how can I encourage and come alongside myself in creating fitness goals that make sense for this person I see in the mirror.
If we begin to build each other up, we can expect that over time we will have realistic self-confidence and courage. Coach yourself like you would coach someone else.
Feel free to DM me if you want to talk further about how to build yourself up in practical ways. It will change your life. It's hard work, for sure, but it is worth it.