You are on a huge stage, headlining for what has been advertised as “the Concert of the Century”, for months now. You know you are more than prepared- you’ve stuck to your diet, done all your vocal warm ups twice, you know all your songs better then the back of your hand, and are dressed from head to toe in an outfit so revolutionary, that even Lady GaGa knows she can’t compete.
The crowd roars with excitement and anticipation, as all your friends, family, and coworkers crowd the front rows, joining the rest of your fans in chanting your name over and over.
This is your one and only shot to prove yourself to everyone else- this is your time to really deliver. The pressure is on – and on full blast!
You slowly step up to the microphone, take a few breaths, and open your mouth to sing. That’s when it happens- your voice cracks, but being the professional you are you attempt to carry on, for “the show must go on”. It cracks again-and again – and it seems the more you push yourself, the more off key you sound. In fact, you are so off key, that it doesn’t even sound like your voice anymore, it sounds like sickly cats playing broken bagpipes.
Ever resourceful, you go to plan B and attempt to play one of your instrumental songs, but suddenly your guitar is mysteriously out of tune and while fumbling to fix it, three strings pop in your face.
Startled, you drop the guitar on your big toe, causing you to release a blood-curling shriek that is actually slightly more pleasurable to the ears then your singing has been tonight. You look out to the crowd and notice as their faces quickly morph to looks of confusion, disappointment, and disdain.
The more you struggle, the more unruly they become; booing, hissing, heckling, throwing tomatoes- the works. Your face gets hot. You’re sweating profusely, as you stutter and stumble over the notes and words to songs you yourself wrote. You begin to tremble and attempt to hold back tears.
You turn to sulk away in shame, and just when you can’t take anymore and think that it can’t possibly get any worse, your eyes catch the jumbo screen. There, on the hundred-foot screen, you see a giant, bare buttocks glowing under all the lights. Confused you think to yourself, “Hmm..That looks familiar. Wait a second…Is that? That can’t be my…”, and you look down to see that somehow, your beautiful rock star threads have completely dissolved. You band has deserted you, leaving you completely alone and stark naked without anything to cover any of your private parts and wobbly bits.
The crowd roars again- this time with cruel laughter- as they point and take pictures, all of which are immediately uploaded onto every website on the Internet, of course. Nowhere to run, your legs shake beneath you like an anxious puppy, and as you attempt to hold in your nervous urine, your alarm clock goes off and you wake up.
Thank goodness – it was all just a terrible nightmare.
Almost everyone has had a variation of this dream at one point or another, and this is due to a phobia of judgment. For whatever reason, our society has revered and embraced this idea of “normal”, and people go to great lengths in order to live up to this socially imposed standard.
This fear initially surfaces in early childhood, as kids are desperate for their parent’s approval and parents take advantage of this desire, by using it as a training tool. The fear of judgment is then fostered as the child enters school and playground politics come into play. In school a person is either revered or punished based upon their willingness to conform to the authority of their teachers as well as the expectations of their peers.
Everyone is guilty of wanting to be part of the “in crowd” at one point in their lives. I’ve even treated successful CEOs and businessmen, who are highly respected pillars of the community because their abilities and contributions. They appear to have it all, however they struggle with the fear of public speaking because they are so terrified of being judged.
No one ever wants to be told they are too fat, too thin, too smart, too dumb, too ugly, even being too pretty has its downside. People typically like to beat others to the punch within their own minds, often becoming overly critical of themselves. However, this can actually become detrimental to one’s health, as this pressure to be “normal” can trigger severe panic attacks.
At Gluck Solutions, I offer a safe, effective, and unique treatment program; Hypnotherapy in conjunction with Rational Cognitive Coaching. Though deeply rooted in the subconscious, this is a phobia that can be easily overcome when treated in this manner.
To be “normal” is to be just right in every single way- but not only is it an unrealistic expectation, it’s mundane. It’s boring. It’s not something you strive for, and certainly not worth stressing over. However, because this is fear is conditioned in people at such a young age, it can be difficult to overcome without help. Embrace who you are, quirks and all, and if this seems like an unconquerable feat, then give my office a call today. (212)599-3195.