“I have confidence in me!”
Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’
As a confessed self-help junkie, I’m aware of many people that advocate the use of mantras, positive self-talk and positive thinking…But don’t worry…This post isn’t going to be telling you to ‘om’ and ‘Pollyanna’ your troubles away. I’m going to keep it real. I’ve gone through phases of really trying to get on board with the whole mantra thing. I’ve told myself: “I am beautiful. I am talented. I have confidence in me!”…I have a problem though…that rather too powerful negative voice. My monkey mind. My inner chimp. Her name is Veronica and she is a little bitch.
I started to get to know Veronica properly back in 2012 when I read Prof. Steve Peters book, “The Chimp Paradox”. If you struggle with your inner bully/negative self talk then do read this book. It is practical and easy to read and not a hint of hippy dippy mumbo jumbo woo woo…(not that I’m against that…I love a bit of hippy dippy once in a while)…Anyway, Veronica: my class A, noisy, petulant, little dickhead of a chimp is particularly brilliant at piping up when I am trying to ‘think positively’. The conversation goes something like this:
Rosie: I know what I’m doing. I am going to ace this audition/performance. I am talented. I am wonderful etc.
Veronica: Oh really?! You haven’t prepared well enough, you are probably less talented than everyone else here, you suck, why are you even bothering to do this? When are you going to give up and get a proper job?
PISS OFF VERONICA!
I’ve definitely got better at managing Veronica’s outbursts in performances and auditions but today she got the better of me. I had an audition for a job that would be really great to get. I don’t think it went very well. For a good hour or so after leaving the audition room, Veronica was in full throttle: “Why were you so tense? You should have sung your up-tempo! Why is it that you sang really well yesterday and didn’t today?” Full on strop. I felt like I wanted to go and cry in the toilets. The thing is…I know these feelings are completely irrational. It wasn’t that bad…but telling Veronica that doesn’t work. She just gets more stroppy. So how can I placate her?
I listen. I let her speak. I allow myself to feel sorry for myself. I allow myself a little mope. Veronica stops being a bitch and goes to sleep.
I titled this post “Mantras and all that mumbo jumbo…” because there is nothing that gets Veronica more riled and ready to destroy than a bad choice of mantra. Belting (I mean soprano-ing) out “I have confidence in me!” just makes her jump up and down and roar “NO YOU DON’T!!”…And trust me… Her voice is more of an “Elaine Stritch – Take 37 of The Ladies Who Lunch” shout than a pingy Julie Andrews yodel! Choosing the right ‘mantras’ helps that inner chimp feel heard and calm again. So today, dear Veronica, I’m telling you: “You did the best you could do in that moment and, no matter how inadequate you feel, you are enough.”