Did you ever notice how people’s voices change in response to changes in their circumstances, thoughts or emotions? When someone talks on the phone for example, and we don’t see the other party, we can tell by their voice whether they just received good news or bad news, or whether they got surprised, angry, anxious or made happy. It is all reflected in the voice.
Also did you notice how one person could be using a different tone of speech and also a different choice of words when they talk to an employee versus a co-worker, an employer, a judge or a potential investor? It is the same person in all cases, yet their voice and vocabulary can be very different.
We can see how our tone of speech and choice of words can instantly change in response to changing circumstances, emotions, thoughts and other factors, all occurring over a short time span. But the same phenomena also occurs over much longer time spans.
Individuals who live with constant anger, reflect it in both their tone of speech and selection of words. But that is true not just for anger, but for any mindset or attitude that one lives with daily: enthusiasm or anxiety, charisma or self hate/criticism, happiness or low self esteem, etc’.
Tone of speech and choice of words also tend to be different between different age groups, between those with friends and family and those who are lonely, those who do financially well and those who are financially challenged, those who handle change gracefully and those who fear change and much more. The more one becomes aware to tone of speech and choice of words being used – either by ourselves or by others – the more one can notice a connection between one’s life in general and their speech.
Here’s what’s happening: there is a closed, subconscious, self-reinforcing feedback loop between speech, emotions, thoughts and actions. It operates below the level of our awareness and we don’t realize its existence, unless that’s where our attention is explicitly focused.
Our speech – both tone and vocabulary – is an intimate reflection of our world and life at the present moment – both its inner and outer manifestations. That means that our speech conveys our character, habits, energy level, thoughts, emotions, etc’, all which are inside of us. It also conveys our relationships, jobs, finance, activities, communications etc’, all which is outside of us. These two spheres are in essence our life and our world. It is everything that we have and know, as far as our awareness has it.
All the above observes speech when viewed as a passive entity.
At the same time, speech is also an active entity as our speech controls our life both directly and indirectly.
Our speech’s direct influence on our life is obvious: We say something and get a response. Different tone and different choice of words would generate a different response in our listeners. Talking in a calm tone and saying “thank you” would get us a piece of cake, while being loud and using offensive words could get us arrested.
It is however, speech’s indirect effect on our life that has much more power, both because we are unaware of its workings and also because it happens continuously over many months and years and could potentially build up tremendous power.
The words and tone that we use today and right now, create the emotional platform which then become the soil for the thoughts that follow. These thoughts in turn, will direct our actions, and create the life and the world of our tomorrow. And this is how a closed, subconscious, self-reinforcing feedback loop is created. With time, it becomes established and set. This is how so many of us get locked up in cyclical patterns that we’re not happy with. We feel stuck and the more time this has been going on for, the less hope we have for a positive change. Through all this time we do not realize just how much of all this, is our own doing.
Yet here comes a very big BUT –
because thankfully we can change it.
Before we can change anything however, we must become aware of our own speech. The words that we use as well as the tone, depending on a particular context, environment, circumstances, surroundings and the other people who belong in our life. A recorder would become very helpful here. Many of today’s mobile phones can also record, so we may wish to consider using one of those.
Listen to these recordings of yourself. Listen closely.
Do you like listening to yourself?
What parts are you comfortable with, and why?
What parts are you not comfortable with, and why?
What kind of thoughts and emotions surface inside of you when you listen to yourself in conversations?
When asking the above questions, we may not get a quick and clear answer. We shouldn’t demand a logic answer from the mind because the mind cannot work with anything that is subconscious. If we demand an answer from the mind, it will no doubt blurt out some excuse, but that would be of little use to us.
This analytical stage is vitally important. We need to go through this self analysis before we can make any changes. We need to gradually become aware of what it is about our speech that make us feel uncomfortable, both in terms of tone and choice of words.
Here are a few things to be mindful of when trying to analyze the recordings:
If we hear ourselves use the word ‘I’ a lot, it may be an indication that we tend to be self absorbed. A byproduct of this could be that we may not have enough sensitivity to other people in our life, and we may be rather oblivious to that and also pay dearly for it.
We may hear ourselves use negative words often, such as: cannot, impossible, don’t want to, etc’. Those could suggest dealing with fear, and we may be unaware of that.
We should also consider the reactions that we generate as well as our reactions to the words of others. For example; if we come to a point in the recording where we’re unhappy with the other person’s reaction, we should listen closely to the words and tone that we used just prior to that.
This self listening, either using recordings or simply through awareness, should be given a substantial amount of time – at least several weeks. Some aspects of our speech will become apparent to us right away, but other aspects may be much too subtle for us to realize initially and may need more time and increased sensitivity for us to uncover.
As we continue to listen to ourselves in conversations (and also mental conversations with ourselves) we will begin to have insight about:
- Which of the words that we use, are better off being excluded from our vocabulary
- Which new words we’d like to incorporate into our existing vocabulary
- Times when we’re using one tone of speech, when in reality we mean to use another
- The emotional backdrop that causes us to use specific words and tone of speech.
There’s much more information. Very valuable information. The more we listen, the more is revealed to us.
At this later stage, we can begin to incorporate modifications into our vocabulary and tone. This is when things become truly amazing.
Depending on just how unaware of ourselves we initially were, we could witness our lives change radically. The effect is all-inclusive: physical, emotional, mental and spiritual, new priorities, plans and ideas, letting go of the past, of obsessions, compulsions, addictions and fears, finding new purpose in life, finding inner peace, and more.
This is similar to using a hypnotic suggestion. Repeated again and again over a span of many years, speech controls our life and our destiny, while we are totally unaware that any of this is taking place.
Moreover; these words and tones – are they our own?
Can you hear your dad or mom in your words or tone? Or a teacher, a friend, a mentor, a celebrity you used to admire years ago etc’?
Is it possible that for many years, we were living somebody else’s life, not realizing it?
If so, there’s little surprise if we are not happy with our life – it may have been somebody else’s!