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"Fascinating" Stephen S. Hall. writer, N.Y.Times magazine. "Hard to put down." A.C.P.A., American Chronic Pain Association.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012


I was very surprised on Sunday when talking with 2 other members of our church choir.

I mentioned something about my vibrato, that I had trouble controlling it. I did not think I sang very loud - in fact I thought I was fairly inaudible so I was very surprised when Mike (pseudonym) told me he could hear me all the way outside the choir room; it was an unpleasantness to the sound of the choir. Midge (pseudonym) sits next to me and told me it was sometimes a problem for her as well. It hurt my feelings to be told this; I was glad for the information because I was unaware. I listened and responded, somewhat surprised by the adamance from Mike, but I was okay with it, it was something I needed to know.

It is not as strong when I sing alto. I mentioned that and Midge suggested maybe I should change from the high soprano section to the alto.

I like singing the high notes but it is also easier for me. We usually sing the melody which allows me to easily learn it without resorting to a lot of relying on reading the music.

Singing alto would mean more eye usage. It requires more reliance on looking at the music in order to learn it. It would be a problem, whether enough to not be able to continue singing I am not sure, but it is something I would prefer not to try.

To my surprise Midge told me she was aware of how hard it is for me to be in the choir, because of the pain. I was so moved that she was aware of it and also that she was letting me know.

The odd thing is, as much as I was hurt by the negative information, I had no problem hearing it and talking with them about it. Hearing someone tell me they understand my situation, they know the struggle I have, that was so very difficult. I blushed, I stammered, I tried to push it aside "Oh thanks, but it's okay." I did everything but fall through the floor.

It is a strange thing. Compliments, empathy, compassion, those are hard to hear, hard to accept, no matter how much they are wanted and needed. How much easier is it to listen to things that feel hurtful?

The singing information was a learning situation for me, different, for sure, then say, an insult like 'your hair is greasy' or 'you smell' but it still hurt. So why is that more acceptable then a kind word or a compliment?

It makes sense that if you learn from a hurtful comment why can't a kind one be just as educational, even if the learning is only in the ability to accept the kindness and care being offered?

I wish I had an answer so I could end this post sounding really smart. Oh well, not yet.


  1. Hi Carol,
    This was very interesting because nobody likes to be criticized, yet most everybody likes to be complimented! Even if we're embarrassed to hear a compliment, I think most people are secretly pleased. Sometimes, you can give a compliment to someone, and it will totally change their day! I was angry when I first read this blog, when those two choir members criticized you! I would have been so hurt too! Constructive criticism can be helpful, but, I think it has to do a lot with the way you word it.

    1. Hi Ireneebird
      I agree with you about the compliments (and criticism). I love to to compliment a stranger on their clothes, hair, etc (when appropriate) and see the delight of the compliment, and the surprise of getting it.

  2. use positive affirmations, im the same way but i know where it comes from childhood abuse. So try positive affirmations.We deserve good words.