healing from voice rejection

— March 10, 2021 —

I’ll never forget the time when this man laughed in my face when I was just about to sing.

Or looked down at his desk in disappointment after I had just started to sing.

Or spent 45 minutes telling me why I wasn’t up for the job. And then asked his personal assistant to further the argument as to what was wrong with my voice.

Or told me why my best friend was better for the role. 

Or requested that I sit out a on a 19-voice piece, of which I was the 20th participant on the gig, left to pace around the nave of a massive cathedral, emptied of its chairs, vainly fighting back the tears of shame that wanted to spill forth from my eyes like raging torrents.

Voice rejection is just about the Worst. Thing. Ever.

For me, the sting of these events is worse than the transgressions of friends and lovers. This is my voice we are talking about: the thing that matters most to me.

How about you?

It is clear that our voice is a reflection of our self. Indeed it is an amplification of our self. It makes perfect sense that the ego will take an event such as a rejection, and draft its own self-destructive tract of shame and victimhood to be replayed over and over again, until we are convinced that it’s real.

Now, let’s set the record straight: it is perfectly, utterly normal for someone to not receive a job, or land a role, or “win” an audition. This is standard practice, akin to any application process. 

But after a while, my ego could not distinguish a standard rejection, or piece of critical feedback, from a rejection of my entire self.

Why not?

Because I had been shamed while being rejected.

Which cemented my inner terror of opening my mouth in front of anyone in case they were listening, for fear that I would be thrown out of the room, or outed in some way for being a totally fake singer!

This is, as they say, not cool. I am not cool with this state of being. There must be a better way, right?

I am not able to change things now. I am not able to single-handedly dismantle the broken audition process, or the patriarchy, or insist that someone exercise some decent manners when they have something unpleasant to say. This would be great! 

But it’s not a better way. The better, wiser way is to change my perception of the events that have formed this distorted perception of myself and my voice. Am I a terrible, worthless person because someone laughed in my face? Of course not. Is that a completely inappropriate action for a person hearing an audition? Um, yes.

But we cannot miss the larger point.

I believe that the events that I have experienced – the very worst, the most cringeworthy – confirm for me that I must fiercely believe in the value of my voice. Indeed, I accept that these experiences have crucial lessons embedded in them, if only I have the capacity to recognize their alchemical potential for healing and wholeness.

Do they tell me that I should work harder? Or prepare more? Or improve my technique? Or reconsider my repertoire? Or toughen up? Or learn to be emotionally bulletproof? Or just deal with it and move on because it’s normal??

Maybe. All helpful points.

I could also choose to ditch the whole singing thing because it’s just too, too painful. Which I have considered, and I know some who have chosen this path.

But I put this to you: 

How can we turn rejection into gold?

We have to see the truth: our soul voice is longing to be free to express itself here, in the world, on planet Earth.

When we experience a rejection, our ego will desperately try to protect us, and say, “FOR THE LOVE OF GOD DO NOT DO THAT AGAIN BECAUSE IT WAS AWFUL.”

But the soul says:

“You must step into your own individuality. You must love me. You must accept me. You must confront and acknowledge your very own sacredness. You must honor your voice.”

You can tell which voice is louder. But the softer voice will make you weep with inner joy and recognition because that’s what this singing business is all about: the expression of your inner sacredness.

We are part of something much bigger and grander than one small moment in time. But those painful, unpleasant moments are the triggers for deepening our love and acceptance of our Self.

I have become a fierce warrior of loving and valuing my own voice. Believe me, it drives me crazy trying, and sometimes I am so incredibly frustrated I have to laugh in exasperation.

My voice is not perfect. It is freaking challenging. But it is lovable, because I am lovable. And because I believe in the capacity of my voice to express my inmost desires, even if it sounds like a wobbly mess.

I have no idea if I could even “win” an audition any more, because it has been so long since I’ve even tried. But my voice will find its way into the world.

Accept that your voice will find its way into the world, too. Indeed, I believe your soul longs for it.

But first, acknowledge the moments that set you off course. Own them, and be free of them.

I invite you to write them here, put them down: let them go.

I will hold your hand, and we will walk together in freedom. We will use our voices to uplift the world, to heal ourselves, and expand into our own sacredness.



Allison Mondel
Allison Mondel is a musician, philosopher, advocate, and mentor. Her greatest delight is to understand how things work, and share her hard-won wisdom with others. She writes about the higher nature of music and the voice, alchemizing personal roadblocks, and the pursuit of one's creative vocation.

IMAGE: Photo by Sharosh Rajasekher on Unsplash

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