A voice of fear
Those who went through University with me know this story. I did a Bachelor of Music majoring in classical voice (soprano). But I suffered from a crippling fear of performing. To the point where I'd be shaking (where it affected my voice) and I'd run off the stage and have a cry in the practice rooms. I became so worried about what I was singing and getting the first line of music right, that when I stumbled, I couldn't pick myself back up. I'd let negative thoughts cloud my confidence while I performed. I battled with performance anxiety for a long time to the point where I completely gave up on performing because it seemed like the easiest option. This whole experience broke my confidence in myself for a very long time.
It all stemmed back from High School when I was bullied by other students and was told I was awful as a performer and I should just give up. Time and time again, I was told I was worthless and had no abilities as a Musician. Eventually I let it impact me. I became so conscious of being critical that I lost focus on growing as a musician and person. I became so scared of being judged that I stopped even trying because I just wanted the negativity to go away. But really I allowed the negativity to cloud me and win rather than just simply fight back.
While this was all happening, I lost so many opportunities because I let fear hold me back rather than catapult me forward. If I had just let fear work FOR me, I could have really grown as a performer.
So one day I made a decision. I decided I desperately wanted to let fear catapult me forwards. I wanted to take fear and flip it on it's sunny side. I wanted to take control of my anxieties and my fears. I wanted to stand in sunlight rather than sit in the shadows. I wanted God to take control of my destiny, so I let him. I'd be lying if I said I am completely recovered. I still get nervous and to be realistic, it's a slow process where I address and let go of the situations that caused the anxiety in the first place. I am starting to slowly pick up my guitar again. I'm singing in the Creative Arts team at Church. I'm acting for a local theatre group. I took my Music Teaching resources and vocal music out of my cupboard today and thought about all the possibilities. I want to sing again. I want to fully regain my confidence. I want to grow. I want my voice to shine past my fears. I want it..... more than you could ever know!
So make that commitment to yourself. That thing that hurts you.... or holds you back..... or scares you.... work on overcoming it. It's so important that to grow, you have to be vulnerable and fearful at some stage. At the end of the day you can look at fear as either than opportunity or a set back, it's up to you.