Happiness is having a scratch for every itch.

~ Ogden Nash ~

Whose Voice Are You Using?

January 30th, 2014 ~ Est. reading time: 2 mins, 5 secs

Where did you learn to talk like that?

Where did you learn to talk like that?

You know that voice. You’ve heard it so many times when you were growing up when you vowed and declared you’d never use it. But here you are saying the same thing.

It could have been your Mum or Dad, or perhaps you’re Aunt or Grandmother. Whoever it was doesn’t matter so much. Just that you are using voices from the past.

That can, of course, be a good thing. Years, even generations, of experience could be distilled in a wise voice that reminds younger ones and encourages us to go on and dare to do better.

But I find that a great many voices that we fall into using are far from uplifting. They use expressions of criticism and hostility. Carping about one thing or another, they are filled with tones of exasperation and  – inevitably – of feeling diminished.

If you have been reading my posts for a while you know how much I encourage awareness. So many of our modern maladies come from a culture that sidesteps reflection and trivializes mindfulness (as if it was somehow indulgent).

Well, tuning into the voices that we use is far from that. To know your own drivers and means of communicating takes thought, openness, and (sometimes painfully) self-honesty. Rather than being indulgent, understanding refines us and makes us more deliberate about who we care to be.

Far from trivial, this kind of conscious awareness helps us become better communicators and, potentially, more considerate toward others and respectful toward ourselves.

So knowing whose habits you’ve gathered helps you to discern the direction and quality of your talk.

Clever expressions that we collected from an apparently cocky older sibling might just come out as harsh cynicism from our mouth. Not that we ever meant them to. But they do.

I suspect that most of us speak using a pastiche of speech, gathered over time from family, friends, workplace and media. We sew it together into something cohesive (sometimes consciously and sometimes not).

It mirrors our inner voice, which psychologists call psycholinguistics. Commonly, this thinking takes on a critical tone putting your actions under fire. “You stupid fool. That’s typical of you”, is the kind of comment that can so easily shoot through your head without a physical word ever being said. The language of the mind is fast, and whether we are aware of it or not, we assume it to be true.

So become more conscious of your voices. The self-talk you use, as well as the tone you take with various folk. Do these expressions really reflect you? Or, are they merely things you picked up as a kid? If so, perhaps some aren’t as good as they looked.

Maybe, it’s time to choose some new voices, minus the criticism and inject a bit more kindness into your “inside dialogue” and general conversations. Now is the time to tune in and choose how you want to express yourself.

Communication Bingo Anyone?

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