take this compliment

Last night was opening night. I think I did pretty much the best I could. After the performance and today before the next I got some very kind compliments from cast, crew and audience which is very nice for the ego. 

In that moment, everything is alright. Everything is fine.

Until the next performance. 

As the next performance begins, I notice a massive compliment balloon inflated inside me. I am puffed and smug and think the world is my oyster. My head is spinning with all this flattery. My mind is replaying all the lovely things that have been said to me.

Swooning over myself from the praise. I hear the comments over and over in my mind, and imagine all the wonderful things that are going to happen for me now because so and so has heard me play really well. Or I imagine how everyone is talking about me saying what an incredible player I am. There really is no one better than me. No one has ever played that part as amazingly as me. I am the best horn player in the world.


Compliments are an addiction to my social human mind, and as soon as they stop coming the withdrawal begins.

As I play, with my attention on the compliments, I also notice that I am not playing so well. 

Well, that wasn't as good as last night. They will all be comparing. Everyone will be noticing that I am not playing as good as last night. Oooh. That bit was better last night. Oops. I didn't split that note last night. Oh wait, I haven't got my mojo like last night. Oh fuck. I am a failure. 

Since becoming a little more mindful of what is going on in my head, I notice with kindness and humour that my attention is continually dragged along behind the compliment balloon.

I have become better at letting go of that balloon and gently turning the torch back toward the music. 




Deborah HartComment