“The woman who does not require validation from anyone is the most feared individual on the planet.” -Mohadesa Najumi
As I was scrolling through my daily sources of inspiration, this quote caught my attention and demanded a moment of introspection. How often do we allow others to control our self-worth? Whether male or female, in the performance world or in “real life”, all of us have experienced the yearn to be accepted, to be loved, and to be wanted. We seek this on a daily basis. It’s just human nature. In life, we strive to wear the right clothes, act a certain way, and say the right things. Most of the media and consumer market thrive off of this need for validation. If we buy this product, we will fit in. If we drink this beer, we will have friends. If we wear this lipstick, we will find love. Watch any commercial with a discerning eye and you will begin to recognize the use of this marketing ploy.
As a singer, I used to wait, holding my breath, to hear my teachers’ and peers’ thoughts on my latest performance. I’ve found myself many times changing my opinion of performances based on their comments and/or criticism. I’ve let others dictate how I feel about myself as a singer even when they had no idea how far I’d come or the struggles I had faced to get to that particular moment. In doing so, I gave them complete power over me. Their comments could make or break my emotional well-being, my confidence, and my ability as a singer. The inconsistency of opinions that arose over the years became so great that I almost gave up singing altogether. But then I stopped and addressed the root source of all of my singing issues… I was singing to please everyone but myself. I was singing to be loved rather than singing for the love of it.
When I recognized this fact, I began the slow process of loosening the chains of validation. I began to sing for myself and simply share my voice with others. I began to honor my own opinion of each performance. My voice was no longer tied directly to my feeling of self-worth. If I sang a wrong note, forgot a line of text, or couldn’t hit a solid high note that day, it didn’t make me less of a person. It didn’t even make me less of a singer. It just made me human. When I took back my power, my voice began to blossom. I gave myself permission to make my own corrections–to listen to my own singing with a teacher’s ear. I began to take control of my own voice. I now view my teachers and peers as colleagues rather than gods towering on high, making proclamations about my talent, physical appearance, and personality. Of course I will accept a compliment with gratitude and I will take suggestions that serve me, but I will no longer silence my own inner voice. Only I know what is best for me. I don’t know if that makes me “the most fearful [singer] on the planet,” but it certainly does make me emotionally, physically, and spiritually stronger. And that has made all the difference.
#yogagivesbackchallenge day 30: handstand. Though I know my line isn’t perfect and my balance is still a bit wobbly, I am proud of myself every time I invert. I am letting myself progress and move foreword, even when things are not ideal. For me, these challenges and blog posts aren’t about getting “likes” or more followers, it’s about doing something everyday that scares me. It’s about seeing my progress on a regular basis and keeping myself accountable for my daily practice and meditative introspection. It’s not validation I am seeking, but enforcement of my own strength and self-worth. I treasure all of your support and comments, but I am doing this for me.