Madonna recently performed at the Eurovision Song Contest. Here’s a video of her performance:
Edit: 20/05/19, 08:45 – I had to change the video as the user had removed the original. There was a Vevo video, uploaded to Madonna’s official YouTube channel however it appeared to have been altered to make her performance sound better than it was during the original broadcast. So I went for this video that is more reflective of the original performance.
Madonna has had criticism since, with many calling it a disastrous and possibly career ending performance. People have described her voice as flat or off key, her outfit and the Christian heavy iconography controversial and unappealing.
I must admit that cringed watching it. But I realised something from it: We’re all human. Even Madonna.
We’ve all had times when things have gone disastrously wrong for us. I don’t know much about Madonna to be honest, but I once did see an interview where she described herself as a perfectionist. So I imagine that Madonna is currently in a mental state of self-denial, or one of rumination with her critical inner voice in over drive.
So here’s some mental health advice to Madonna, from my book Mental Health Wisdom:
Rumination is thinking the same thoughts or replaying memories again, again and again in your mind. Nothing good ever comes from it. It’s like having a song that you hate on full ear-bleeding volume and stuck on repeat. Rumination makes you feel like you are losing your mind.
When it comes to replaying memories, they are usually memories that are emotionally traumatic. Our memory of events is never accurate and always has a negative bias. What you need to remember if you find yourself ruminating is that the event has happened. It’s in the past. It’s gone. You can’t change what’s happened, no matter how many times you replay the video. It’s time to accept what’s happened, how it made you feel, so that you can let it go and move on.
Rumination is a waste of time, energy and effort. Rumination and the Critical Inner Voice go together. The critical inner voice is that voice inside your head that says things like:
- You’re not good enough.
- You don’t know what you’re doing.
- Just who do you think you are?
- You’re worthless.
- You screw everything up. You are a screw up.
- Nobody cares about you.
The critical inner voice is abusive and says things that we wouldn’t dream of saying to our worst enemy. It never says anything useful, nice, good or kind. It tends to get louder and louder if we allow it to. Managing the critical inner voice starts with the choice not to put up with the things it says to you.
I manage my critical inner voice in two main ways. First by imagining a volume control knob. I imagine it being turned down and hear the voice go quieter and quieter until it is silent. Second, I repeat positive affirmations that I know are true. I say things to myself like:
- I am good at my job. I have a lot of specialist knowledge and thirteen years of clinical experience.
- I offer a lot to people around me, including humour, compassion and kindness.
- People value my opinion. I know this because I am often asked for it by others.
- I am doing the best that I can and learn every day.
Having difficulty coming up with positive affirmations about yourself that are true? Ask people who are close to you: What is positive about me? What do you like about me? Others often see things that we don’t spot in ourselves.
(From: Mental Health Wisdom by Antony Simpson, 2019, pages 97-99.)
So Madonna try not to be too hard on yourself. Learn from the performance, then let it go.