Why is it so hard to get over stage fright? I am a streamer on Twitch.tv, and I play video games live. But I find that as outgoing as I am in other pursuits, I am terribly shy when it comes to being recorded by either microphone or camera (though I don’t have a camera yet). It seems that we’re so worried about what others think that we don’t even consider the idea that others probably and most likely don’t think about things as much as we do. They don’t think about us as much as we think about ourselves, and they certainly aren’t judging us like we judge ourselves. So, why do we get so frightened when being in front of people? It should be easy, right?
That’s what I keep telling myself. ‘It should be easy’. But I think that’s counter-productive; I’m scolding myself for being human. But I truly think the real reason for this is that we are own worst critics. We see every flaw within ourselves and no matter how many flaws we see in another person, we tend to see ourselves as someone who will never be good enough.
I remember growing up and in my teenage years, I would believe that others would hate me if they knew ‘who I truly was’, although I didn’t really even know what that meant. It was like I wanted to deliberately push others away and make them turn from me so that I wouldn’t have to face the pain of them doing it without warning. I have been betrayed a few times in my life by acquaintances, so that sticks with you and is often hard to get rid of. But perhaps it’s a mystery why we hold onto the painful things and let go of the good things. Or maybe it’s just me that does that. All I know is that it is a damn hard thing to get over stage fright.
Of course, I want to be a performer. I want to be an entertainer. I want to sing, write, act, etc. So, how could I possibly do that with stage fright? Maybe I just need to work through it and practice at getting better, just like one would with learning the piano or guitar. You are terrible and frustrated and embarrassed at first (or, at least I was), but then you get better, get little achievements, and start to feel good about your playing. Maybe the same thing stands for stage fright. Maybe it’s as simple as practicing and being more outgoing; following a set of ‘rules’ in your mind that you’ve written up just as you would follow the set of rules to learn music.
Though it’s hard for all of us, I think we overcomplicate it. I really do think that it’s as simple as following a list and developing a talent. I once read that we, as humans, are stronger than we could ever imagine. Physically. Our physical strength knows no limits, but we put limits on ourselves by believing that we have limits in the first place. Somehow, we jinx ourselves into believing that we don’t have enough, and by believing that, we end up not having enough. It’s the same for stage fright. We make things so much more complicated than they need to be, going through it in our minds of all the things that are so impossible for us to do. But it’s so easy to just get up and start…and so hard.
I read a quote by an author (whose name I don’t remember, seeing as I have short-term memory loss), and it went something like this:
“In order to write, all you need to do is sit down at the computer and write. It’s that easy…and that hard.”
I understand exactly what this author is saying. It should be easy – and often is – to get started. But sometimes our fear of what happens once we get started is what holds us back, in addition to being our own greatest critic. For me, that fear encompasses failure as well as success, because I don’t know that I’ve ever really been very successful at something. It’s the commitment factor for me as well. I hate commitment. But when it comes to relationships, I can commit. When it comes to deadlines I tend to hide under my bed until the world has forgotten about me.
But whether it be deadlines or commitment or failure or success, there is one thing we can’t avoid: the regret of not trying. I would rather feel the disappointment for trying and failing than the regret for never trying at all. So, as afraid I am of success, failure, and commitment, I will try and I will make it.
That’s all we can ever do.