When To Take Things to Heart

Last Thursday, I wrote about Taking Things Personally, and how you needed to accept that rejection in an audition doesn’t mean it’s a rejection of you.

(And I just realized now that I had written a blogpost with that exact title back in November. Oops. Although that blogpost was a little emotionally naked than last Thursday’s, so I was only unoriginal as far as title.)

There was more that I’d written on Thursday that I thought was necessary. to write about but not include in that particular blogpost When should you take things personally? Or rather, take them to heart? (There’s a difference, and I’ll explain that below.)

If you consistently

    • aren’t getting the gig;

    • aren’t placing in the competitions;

    • aren’t filling the halls;

    • aren’t selling the class;

perhaps there is something that you need to accept feedback about and make some changes. If the feedback is honest and the source is someone you trust (a teacher, an adjudicator, a business coach, a parent or colleague), figure out what you need to implement those tweaks/changes to your process. It doesn’t mean you’re compromising your identity. You’re doing what you need to do in order to achieve a goal.

Maybe you need to:

    • address some technical issues

    • change out your audition material (what? cool obscure songs might not win that competition? impossible!)

    • tweak your marketing

    • do some market research (of course people want to sit in front of Zoom for two days after being online for a year! who wouldn’t?)

If implementing these changes doesn’t feel organic or natural, or you feel like you are compromising your identity, examine your actions and/or your goals. Is it resistance to something new just because it’s something new? Is it uncomfortable? A lot of things are uncomfortable when you first do them. If they stay uncomfortable or go to the point of pain, then, yeah, it’s probably not good for you.

Zumba didn’t feel good at first. Now it’s my favorite form of exercise. Barre, on the other hand, really aggravates my knee arthritis, and I let that go because it’s not ever going to feel better.  And there other ways to get the same results that don’t hurt me.

I had a voice teacher who told me that the secret to singing was to pull in my lower lip when I went for high notes. That didn’t feel good. My first teacher told me that I should hold my larynx down when I sang to get a rich, dark, mature sound. I sounded like an old woman. Those are things that I was able to recognize weren’t working for me and let go in favor of things that did work for me (like, say, healthy, science-based technique.)

There are ways of taking things to heart without taking them personally. According to Guillaume Hervé,

Taking something to heart means that you care about and are committed to the purpose and the outcome. It also means that you have a high level of conviction that what you are doing has meaning and can make a difference. Because you are taking this to heart, you are able to bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to the task at hand.

Taking things personally makes it about you.Emoji of myself cursing


Taking things to heart makes it about the work. Emoji of myself taking things to heartWhich do you think is healthier for you and more productive?


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Published by Mezzoid Voice Studio

Christine Thomas-O'Meally, a mezzo soprano and voice teacher currently based in the Baltimore-DC area, has performed everything from the motets of J.S. Bach to the melodies of Irving Berlin to the minimalism of Philip Glass. As an opera singer and actress, she has appeared with companies such as Charm City Players, Spotlighters Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Opera Theater of Northern Virginia, Opera North, the Washington Savoyards, In Tandem Theatre, Windfall Theater, The Young Victorian Theater of Baltimore, and Skylight Opera Theatre. She created the role of The Woman in Red in Dominick Argento’s Dream of Valentino in its world premiere with the Washington Opera and Mary Pickersgill in O'er the Ramparts at its world premiere during the Bicentennial of Battle of Baltimore at the Community College of Baltimore County. Other roles include Mrs. Paroo in Music Man, Mother Abbess in Sound of Music, Dorabella in Cosi Fan Tutte, Marcellina in Le Nozze di Figaro, both Hansel and the Witch in Hansel & Gretel, and many roles in Gilbert & Sullivan operettas. Her performance as the Housekeeper in Man of La Mancha was honored with a WATCH award nomination. Ms. Thomas-O'Meally received an M.M. in vocal performance from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. She regularly attends master classes and workshops in both performance and vocal pedagogy, and is certified in all three Levels of Somatic Voicework™ The LoVetri Method. Her students have performed on national and international tours of Broadway productions, at prestigious conservatories, and in regional theater throughout the country.

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