The Whole body YES! Three Lies We Tell Ourselves!
Too many times in our music industry culture, artists are made and not allowed to be who they are. Sometimes that’s because they are caught up in the big “money machine,” and sometimes it’s because the artist isn’t listening and following who and what they are. They have let society tell them what to do and who to be. I get it; it’s scary to stand up in society and say, “you know what, I’m going to do it what I FEEL is best.” And to make matters even worse, as soon as you find a little courage to actually follow YOUR dreams, people (mostly well-meaning friends) come out of the woodwork to tell you about how your idea will never work, and you should go get a “real” job. And the thing is, it’s tempting to listen and justify what they’re saying because after-all, they’re your friends and just looking out for you, right? Wrong.
They’re telling you this based out of FEAR. The FEAR that they will see you succeed at something they never could have and the FEAR of the unknown. They might be genuinely afraid for you. And that’s nice. But here’s the thing, if you follow someone else, what and who they tell you to be if it is not in line with your real, authentic and genuine self, you will wind up ultimately being unhappy because you went against who you are. That’s what it’s so important to listen to your inner intuitions and if you are going to follow a path you better be able to back that up with a whole-body YES, or it will fall apart eventually because you cannot be someone you are not forever. Too many people live lives of quiet desperation. Artists are compassionate and sensitive people, and you will be affected if you have to continue to ignore who you are.
Robert Louis Stevenson said, “to know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive.” (p.148)
I’m not saying run off and join the circus unless that’s what’s truly in your heart, but find ways to allow who you are to come out. Start saying no to things that cross your boundaries and make you feel weird or unhappy. It’s okay to take care of yourself and what you need. You won’t be letting anyone down. If you are not a whole person, how do you expect to give the world your best?
As a young artist just starting your career, you must know who you are and what path you want to take. And at this point, you’re going to ask, “well, how do I know?” If you listen to your body, it will give you clues. As you begin the personal branding of who you are in your career if a label or manager etc, is asking you to wear or say or endorse something and it just doesn’t feel right, that’s your body trying to tell you to look carefully before saying yes. The thing is, when you build a public perception, a personal brand, it is tough to change after that brand is established. You may not remember this, but in 1985 Coca-Cola tried to change and “improve” the secret recipe and give the world “New Coke.” It failed miserably. Within three months, Coke abandoned the new formula and re-branded “Coca-Cola Classic.” I’m not saying run off and join the circus unless that’s what’s truly in your heart, but find ways to allow who you are to come out. Start saying no to things that cross your boundaries and make you feel weird or unhappy. It’s okay to take care of yourself and what you need. You won’t be letting anyone down. If you are not a whole person, how do you expect to give the world your best?
Three lies we tell ourselves!
- Other people listened to the label, and they’re doing great!
First of all, you have no idea what’s going on in anyone’s life behind closed doors. We read far too many times about a celebrity committing suicide or drug overdose… and we think, but they had everything… and it doesn’t make any sense. You have no idea what the person had to give up to say yes to that deal. Taylor Swift just lost the rights to her whole first six albums to a man who has been nothing but a torment to her for her entire career. She couldn’t stop the sale to this man… I’m sure she would have like to have prevented that. I can’t imagine the shock and range of emotion she went through when she learned about this…. So the point is… you have no idea what anyone else is going through..
- People will hate me.
This is a hard one because sometimes if you follow your heart, some people won’t understand. It’s been my experience that the people closest to you will eventually come around if they love and care for you. Sometimes that may take a while, but they don’t hate you… they are afraid for you… and when you are happy and successful, they will understand. The people who are meant to be with you stick, and the ones who are toxic need to go away anyway… instead of missing them be glad they aren’t so close anymore to keep poisoning you.
- I’m not good enough anyway, so I should let someone else tell me what to do.
This one is where you have to trust your gut. If you are meant to do something, you will feel it. I can’t imagine how many times people must have told Taylor Swift or Bob Dylan or Tom Petty or Stevie Nicks they couldn’t sing. They should get lessons and change everything about how they sound… To Prince that he should bring others into the studio to help him instead of doing everything himself… or Eminem that a white kid couldn’t make it in Rap music… these kinds of things could start to make anyone feel insecure and like they should listen to outside advice. However, all of these singers deliver a vocal line and performance like no other because they are singing something real and authentic to them, not something fabricated that someone else told them to sing. And thankfully Prince kept his creative control, and Eminem didn’t listen to those naysayers… which by the way.., sometimes the loudest negative voice in the crowd is YOU.
And just a couple more that people often think are:
If I do things my way, I’ll wind up alone; I will look like a loser if I fail, if I do things myself – I won’t make any money, I’m too old already anyway.
I think it helps to write down your negative thought and then write the opposite down. Like, I’m not good enough turns into… “I’ve performed lots of times, and I always get a good reaction. That wouldn’t happen if I were terrible. I do have talent, and people enjoy my music.”
Try to turn all of the negative things you are saying to yourself into positive statements and then keep repeating the positive affirmations until the other voice starts to disappear. I think preparation and doing are the way we begin to trust ourselves. Each time we do, we can point to something that was a success.
Cameron, Julia. The Artist’s Way. 2016. Random House. New York