"I'm afraid if I make a mistake, no one will clap for me." This is what one of my students said to me last week. No pathos. Just a straightforward worry.
We were preparing for a recital and she had performed her piece from memory several times on stage. She was having trouble remembering to take a first ending instead of a second ending.
"I know you can do it," I said. "You did it perfectly twice!"
"But I played it like a million times!"
"You played it 5 times. Twice you got it!"
Then she looked at me with a look I am getting used to - Grave Uncertainty.
"But I did it wrong 3 times."
And then I said something that teachers have said to me, and which is always hard to believe, but is and has always turned out to be true.
"If you can do it right once, you can do it a thousand times."
So much of it depends on belief. When we do something "wrong", we believe in it. When we do something "right", we doubt it.
Turn it around, and you get something very powerful.
You get the power and impetus to work at something; you get the possibility of change and growth.
And her fear that no one would clap for her - don't we all have that fear? That one mistake will be our undoing? Meanwhile we discount all the good that we do.