The hardest thing I've ever had to do was listen to myself sing.
I absolutely hate it. But I have been forcing myself to do it as an exercise nearly everyday. You know how they say do one thing that scares you everyday? Well, I can't imagine this wouldn't count.
And you know what is happening? I am learning to have more compassion for myself. I am no less critical, but I am beginning to hear myself as I would hear someone else, almost to separate the person singing on the recording from me as I listen to the recording, hearing both the good and the bad. When something comes across as horrible, I beat myself up less, and start to think of all the ways I could fix it. In other words, it's becoming a less world-altering experience. And I am learning how to be consistent in my singing by listening and noting the moments when I lose focus, let my support go, all of those small things that work together for a unified whole voice sound. No one could give me feedback as strong as hearing all of it for myself, everyday. Everyday. I mean it is really lighting a fire under my a**.
I used to basically assume the fetal position and rock back and forth keening whenever faced with the necessity of hearing a recording of my singing. I mean it would really ruin my day. Maybe I am just improving...oh joy and rapture!...but I am so critical of myself it is unlikely I will ever hear myself and absolutely love everything. I think I'm just seeing it more matter-of-factly, knowing that none of it is unfixable.
My teacher said to me the other day: "You don't have any vocal problems. We just have to perfect a few things."
And I thought for as second, and realized that no one had ever said that to me. I don't? I thought. Wow. So maybe that makes listening easier too-- knowing (hoping) that maybe I am past the major overhaul stage, and I can get to the important task of just singing. But better and better everyday.