Brushing off the hard stuff post-performance

I’ve recently begun performing in public again after a year of hiding in my basement practicing when I could. The last performance I gave a year ago was a disaster. The piece was an easy one, totally within my capabilities, but I was stressed out, anxious about what people though, and exhausted both mentally and physically. I was burnt out, but I still had to go for it. Obviously it was a disaster, and I felt like what people have been saying all along (“You can’t be a performer, you’re a composer. But it’s cute to see you try…”) was being proved right then. This year, I’ve been practicing… this huge mental exercise: after a performance, I ONLY focus on the good stuff that happened, not the bad. Sometimes I feel like I’m fooling myself by not admitting my faults and weaknesses, but then realize that it doesn’t make me unaware of them. It just diminishes the gravity of it all for the time being so I can focus on getting better and not wasting time by letting anything drag me down. I’ve learned to smile and say “thank you” to compliments, and “it is possible” to any negative comments. A real mental workout for someone who’s been constantly replaying the rough spot of a performance over and over again right after the fact, like a real torture.

What do you do right after a performance? How do you make the experience better or worse?

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