Personal

A Welcome Goodbye

Apologies for not having posted in a while, it’s been a busy week!

Yesterday, I finally got around to doing something which I have wanted to do for months now – something that everyone had been encouraging me to do for a good, long while, but for which I just couldn’t pluck up the courage. But influenced by recent events, I went for it.

I quit having lessons with my piano teacher.

This may sound a bit odd, for those of you who don’t know the context. I enjoy playing piano and it’s compulsory to play it to some extent for university work, so you may wonder, why did I choose to quit so soon, a mere four months after starting lessons? Well, the reason is simple: I didn’t like my teacher. He was clearly a perfectionist who expected his pupils to learn at a miraculous rate, and having only played piano since August 2011, I was still trying to find my feet (or should I say, my fingers!). I just could not keep up with his demands and when I didn’t grasp something within about 10 minutes, he would become impatient and snap at me. I remember once he even said he was getting “irritated” by my mistakes – which, incidentally, were down to nerves because I could tell he was in a foul mood.

It got to the stage where I would absolutely dread going to my lessons because I had no way of predicting whether he would be in a good mood or not, and the fear of being triggered in my lesson was overwhelming. There were many times I was close to tears because he would really challenge my confidence.

I suppose the final straw happened last week, when he didn’t show up for my lesson. Considering I was already nervous about going and had walked half an hour to get there, only to be left on the doorstep for fifteen minutes before giving up and going shopping instead, I was pretty pissed off. He sent me an apologetic email but by this point I was really considering whether going to my lessons was worth the damage to my self-esteem.

So, a week on, I finally bit the bullet and did what my friends, family and counsellors had been advising for so long – and I emailed him saying I was quitting.

I must admit, I haven’t had a reply yet, so I am absolutely petrified about what he might say, but I firmly believe I’ve made the right decision. I’m sure I will find another, more sympathetic teacher soon, and if not, I’d much rather have no lessons at all than continue having my self-esteem ground down by him. I’ve realised that if things which upset us, or trigger bad emotions, are within our control, we have every right to cut ourselves off and move on. I think part of my problem is that I’ve always wanted to be seen as “nice”, to please everyone and, above all, to avoid conflict, even if it means bottling up any negative emotions which arise as a consequence. I can only hope that I’ll gradually settle into this mind-frame of “if something doesn’t make you happy, don’t bother” and apply it to other areas of my life too.

After all, life – especially for those of us with fragile self-esteem and emotional insecurities – is too short to dedicate to spending time with those who are going to bring you down.

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