I injured my left hand recently. Over Christmas and New Year’s break, I increased my piano practice time from one hour to two hours because it was a quiet week where everyone was on vacation so no one would bother me much about accounting work. I wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to play piano more.
One week in, I started experiencing pain in my wrist and my doctor diagnosed me with repetitive use injury and tendonitis so I can’t play piano with my left hand until it’s fully healed. At my last lesson on Thursday, my piano teacher had me sing the melody of a piece I was learning so then I didn’t have to use either of my hands. She said I could sing, so there’s no reason why I lack the confidence to sing. I’ve hated every moment when she made me to sing since I started taking lessons with her.
Suddenly, I remembered the reason why I hated to sing. I didn’t always hate singing. I enjoyed singing in the shower, in my bedroom alone, and I used to take singing lessons as well. I used to do my vocal warmup exercises everyday too.
The vocal warmup exercises helped me learn to be more articulate in my public speaking. At the Toastmasters Club where I was a member, we had some nights dedicated to giving workshops, so I gave a workshop on how to do the vocal warmup exercises to improve your speaking voice. My now-husband who I had only met once at that point in my life (he didn’t tell me he was a singer) went to my workshop. He did the exercises with everyone in the room and then afterward told me I was breathing wrong. So then after that, I was afraid to ever sing in public.
After we got married and began living together, I sang my exercises one day when I was home alone. There are two entrances to apartment and he normally enters from one of them, so I figured I could stop singing once I saw him opening the gate. But it turns out he entered from the other entrance that day and was listening to me sing through the door. He opened the door and started laughing at me. I couldn’t even sing in private after that because he laughed at me.
At least I could sing in the car alone right? One day I was driving by a parking lot and we got an emailed parking ticket. I never parked in that parking lot. So we checked our dashcam footage to get evidence to appeal the ticket, and in the footage I was humming/singing a song. My husband laughed at me again. So great, I can’t even sing in the car when I think I’m alone.
I haven’t sang for seven years until I started taking piano lessons and my teacher told me to sing solfege. I felt so uncomfortable and now I know why, because prior to meeting my husband, I never felt uncomfortable singing. I wasn’t an amazing singer, but I felt free back then.
I bought a six month life coaching package from The Life Coach School, so I wanted to work on this problem I’ve been having in my private coaching session. I brought it to the session and we ran it through the self coaching model:
Circumstance: My husband laughed at me when I sang.
Thought: I can’t sing.
Action: I never sing at all, not in the shower, not alone at home, not in the car, not ever. Anytime I’m invited to karaoke, I turn it down.
Result: I haven’t sang anything for seven years.
I asked the life coach how I could remove the limiting belief of “I can’t sing” and believe in a new thought that would lead me to feel differently about singing and take new action more aligned with what I want to achieve.
She taught me how to do a ladder thought. So if I went straight to the thought, “I can sing,” my brain is going to go crazy because my brain doesn’t believe it. “I can sing” is too far fetched of a thought and doesn’t feel like it has any ounce of truth in it.
So what I needed was an in-between thought: “I choose to believe that I can sing.”
After I get used to “I choose to believe that I can sing,” I can start saying “I can sing.”
And then after believing, “I can sing,” I can move into “I can sing well.”
I’ve been practicing the “I choose to believe that I can sing” thought for a few days now and I feel a lot more empowered to sing solfege while doing my piano practice. I’m even thinking of maybe trying out the 30 Day Singer program to improve my voice.