Tonight I sang at a party and bombed really really bad. I can't stop thinking about how I embarrassed myself in front of everyone. I keep thinking, I don't mind that I failed. But why did I have to fail in front of everyone? How can I get over this embarrassment and stop beating myself up over a seemingly petty thing?
Aw I’m sorry! I don’t think I would be courageous enough to sing in front of a bunch of people, so at least give yourself credit for that. You did something brave.
While that moment may have been embarrassing, it no longer exists. Whatever you are experiencing now isn’t real–it is the mind.
The past is a ghost and the future is a demon, neither of which truly exist. You cannot change the ghost and you cannot fight the demon. All you can do is become present and then both cease to exist.
The past cannot be changed by thinking more about the past. You cannot fight the past on the level of the past. Only from being rooted here and now can you digest the past properly.
- Focus on the feeling of embarrassment.
- Where do you feel it in your body?
- Is it a heat in your face?
- A flutter in your chest?
- A weakness in your knees?
- Examine the quality and location of the sensation.
- Don’t pay attention to your thoughts about the embarrassment.
- Don’t focus about the story. Don’t ask questions such as “Why me? Why did this happen?” etc.
- Even if thoughts arise, don’t entangle yourself in them by judging and analyzing.
- Keep shifting your focus and attention to the feeling of embarrassment in your body.
- Don’t try to change the feeling.
- Don’t push it away.
- Just feel it. Don’t be afraid to feel it.
- Be patient and just be with the feelings. Breathe.
- Remember: don’t get sucked into the mental stories!
- A moment will come in which you can let go of the embarrassment.
- Take it. Let go.
- You may have to practice this and let go over and over.
- It is a growing process. Be persistent.
- Each time you let go and the feeling returns, it returns in a weaker form and you are stronger.
The above is your main obstacle. You had an unpleasant experience, you haven’t digested it, and so you’ve taken an imprint of it into your mind-body. That imprint is made of mental/psychological time (dwelling on the past) and emotional pain (embarrassment). The mental time keeps you in a loop of dwelling on the past. The emotional pain propagates the suffering. By doing the above practice, you can disable both.
Lastly, I think it’s important for you to contemplate the meaning of failure. Is singing–or art in general–about success or failure? If you ask me, art is about expression, space for growth, and opportunity to see things in new ways.
To make something like singing into being about looking good in front of other people is to make it into an ego practice. Be humble and stop beating yourself up. You did something I wouldn’t be brave enough to feel comfortable doing. Don’t let this experience be something that keeps you from getting up there and doing it again if you so desire.