Is it worth it to work on compassion toward ourselves?

My friend Cory over at Practice Happier dropped this nugget on Instagram LITERALLY while I was listening to a podcast episode about the exact same thing. I love synchrony and I feel like this topic is really helpful for us as musicians.

Hating your sound is violence against yourself.

Practice Happier

Now… I hate my sound A LOT of the time. My first reaction to the post was, “This seems a bit extreme. Violence? Really?” I am not into fake positivity or pretending that everything is great, but at the same time I know that I do quite a bit of negative talking to myself in my head. This kind of negativity can have very real impacts on how you feel day to day, how you handle setbacks, your relationships with others, your self-image, and probably more stuff too.

Even now, I catch myself saying mean shit to myself when I’m practicing– the idea that negative comments will motivate us is so ingrained! But research shows that negative feedback is NOT motivating us– it’s hurting our self-regard, and makes us less motivated in the long run.

Practice Happier

The podcast episode I was listening to when I saw this Instagram post is this one, check it out and subscribe to the Hidden Brain podcast, I highly recommend it for your reedmaking/driving/cleaning/walking etc. time.

This week on Hidden Brain, the story of a psychologist who learned to stop beating up on herself, and how you can convert your harsh inner critic into a friend.

This is NOT about fake positivity.

The belief that we need to be hard on ourselves, criticize ourselves to succeed or reach your goals or make a change is actually the number one block to self-compassion we found in the research. People are afraid that if they’re kind to themselves, they just won’t get anything done.

Kristin Neff on the Hidden Brain podcast

I really related to this. It’s easy to think that harshly criticizing yourself leads to improvements, making changes that are needed, and succeeding. However, it is really important to speak to yourself with kindness!

“Wait a second, you’re allowed to be kind and supportive to yourself even if you’ve done something wrong?”


What do you think about the idea of being more kind to yourself? How do you feel and think toward yourself when your sound is not how you would like it to be? What about when you make a costly or embarrassing mistake? I think working on these ideas and being aware of our thoughts can help us as musicians and as people!

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