I was watching a film, and one of the characters was a 12 year old singer who has stage fright. She was determined to sing at a big performance, and when she began, she sang a word or two, then stopped, apologized, and started to leave. Someone backstage gave her a nod and she went on with it, but in those few seconds when she was stopped, I became so critical and judgmental of this 12 year old as I had a thought like “C’mon, suck it up, what’s wrong with you, all those people are staring….”

Yikes, I had to check myself because it was such a strong and harsh feeling. I realized I say it to myself all the time in the context of public speaking or media interviews (and that I wouldn’t actually want a 12 year old or anyone else to ever think that.) I used to coach myself on being less anxious when public speaking which helped, then I moved to try to accept the anxiety and not resist it which also helped.

But I think I have more fear of beating the crap out of myself than I do the public speaking or the anxiety at this point. I’ve made the stakes so high and have such ridiculous standards, and I can see that I’ve avoided professional and social opportunities because I’m thinking five steps ahead to when I may have to speak/present. How can I lessen my judgment? I thought I believed I have my own back, but I guess not. I think I’m still holding myself to perfection. Like I can accept the anxiety now, but I still have to sound perfect. I can’t find other believable thoughts yet, my brain thinks they’re woo-woo.