Change Your Quality of Life With Tone of Voice Awareness – Episode 105

Change Your Quality of Life With Tone of Voice Awareness - Episode 105

In this guided meditation, we explore the challenging emotions of condescension and arrogance. While these emotions may not necessarily pertain to your current state, they are used as examples to help you become more attuned to your own difficult emotions,  your responses to them, and how you can best discover and tend to your emotional needs. The central focus lies in cultivating awareness of these challenging emotions, developing tolerance, and acceptance, and uncovering pathways toward greater ease, resolution, and self-care. By becoming aware of your tone of voice, you gain the capacity to transform the quality of your life experience. With awareness of your tone of voice, you can ask these questions: “How can I better care for myself? What needs do I have? and what tone of voice would empower me to be my best self?” Often, we’ve conditioned ourselves to be oblivious when condescension or arrogance surfaces, especially in our close relationships. Acknowledging these moments and sincerely asking these questions leads you to guidance that allows you to influence them positively through your tone of voice.

Observe the paradox that when you become a neutral observer, a witness, or simply engage with honest awareness, the quality of your arrogance, opens the door to not being controlled by this emotion. You become in a state of awareness, rather than reacting from the emotion.  Additionally, you will find out how you can discover how to care for others while tending to your own needs. In that moment of contemplation, it’s truly remarkable to witness the transformative power of vulnerability, transparency, and the power of awareness. By being aware of instances where your tone of voice contributes to suffering and expressing your intention to infuse compassion and wisdom into your words, you will be shown how to initiate a dynamic and nurturing relationship with yourself. Understand that not every situation is a one-size-fits-all approach; sometimes, authenticity at the moment may not be the optimal choice. You will be shown how to consult your inner wisdom regarding your desire to care for yourself when you’re feeling arrogant, and whether it’s best to express yourself or not.

Resources related to this episode
Robert Strock Website
Guided Meditation Video (YouTube)
Robert’s Book, “Awareness that Heals”
The Introspective Guides (Free Download)

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Transcript
Announcer (00:00):

Awareness That Heals, Episode 105.

Announcer (00:05):

The Awareness That Heals podcast helps its listeners learn to develop the capacity to have a more healing response to emotions and situations rather than becoming stuck. Your host, Robert Strock, has practiced psychotherapy for more than 45 years. He wrote the book, “Awareness That Heals: Bringing Heart and Wisdom to Life’s Challenges,” to help develop self-caring and the capacity to respond in an effective way to life’s challenges. Especially at times when we are most prone to be critical or to withdraw together, we will explore how to become aware of our challenging feelings and at the same time find alternative ways to live a more fulfilling and inspiring life.

Robert Strock (00:47):

I wanna thank you again for joining us at Awareness That Heals where we really do our best to focus on bringing our heart and our wisdom to our life’s challenges. And as I say that, I really am asking you to just start off right away and zero in on what challenging emotions are most real for you. So let yourself identify one or two challenging emotions that unquestionably will come through in your tone of voice. And today we’re gonna really continue to focus on tone of voice, which in reality is as much of a factor in all of our lives as what we say. And so for you to become much more aware of your tone of voice gives you the capacity if you do the inner work with your heart to change the very quality of your life. Now the question is, have you identified yet your challenging emotion and perhaps be able to see an example of, oh, I did this with my lover, I did this with my parents, I did this with my children.

(02:26)
And the more you stay with that, the more you’re gonna be able to develop the practice of not only becoming aware of challenging emotions, hopefully without judgment or with as little judgment as possible, but also see how you can shift the tone of voice to be more conducive to a harmonious relationship. And that will almost invariably require you to become aware of your needs. For example, if you’re really frustrated with somebody, that means there’s a need that wasn’t satisfied. If you don’t find out what the need is and address that with your words, it’s gonna be almost impossible for you to change your tone of voice. It’s something that really blows my mind. That tone of voice is not in Psychology 101 for therapists. And this particular meditation is one that I did in front of a large group of therapists where it was obvious that it was not part of their training.

(03:53)
So it’s very important as you listen to this that you recognize that even therapists, who are as close as we have to experts on dealing with mental health, haven’t generally used tone of voice as a central vehicle, or in most cases, even a minor vehicle, to support you to move toward being your best self and to develop your mental health. Tone of voice is something that gives you access if you pay attention to your subconscious. I had a client that asked me one time, why aren’t you dealing with dreams more? And I said to her, your tone of voice gives me so much access to your subconscious that I believe it’s a lot more reliable than interpreting dreams. And she was a bit offended and I said to her, see <laugh>? And we had a good laugh, but that was such an example because she thought she was just getting back at me for accusing her of having a bad tone of voice, which I really was saying to her, Hey, I think it’s important for you to look at your tone of voice as a loving gesture, but there’s such a tendency to see it defensively.

(05:38)
So today we’re gonna give you an opportunity, both during the meditation and even as we’re talking before the meditation, to put yourself in the center and actually visualize the situations that you’re in and have been in with people where your tone of voice or their tone of voice is one that creates suffering. And when you become aware of that, which this is all about, becoming aware of that, letting that be the starting point and accepting it or at least tolerating it, and then asking yourself the question with this awareness of my tone of voice how can I take care of myself better? What needs do I have and what tone of voice would allow me to be my best self? And I assure you that this is not a weakness. This is not giving up when you find other feelings than your more aggressive feelings and you become more empathic or you become more neutral.

(07:05)
This isn’t giving up your strength, it’s giving up your false strength. Or if you’re generally on the other side, which is a subservient tone of voice, a meek tone of voice, that this is allowing you to find your own strength, which requires you to do the inner work. Because as I’ve said and made clear in prior episodes, this is not just cosmetic. You do need to go inside yourself and ask not only what do I really feel, but what do I really need? And that’s what sets up your ability to have a tone of voice and words that will support you expressing your direct need at the same time. Now, this is a very, very evolutionary process because most people believe that I sort of am who I am, almost like you’re a fixed target or a fixed entity. But my experience is in vast ways with thousands of people that were all variables, we’re not fixed. We’re not just our identity. We all have the capacity to become aware of our challenging emotions, to become aware of our needs, and to do something about it, to be something about it. Our thoughts can change, our attitudes can change, our actions can change. And it’s so important that you give yourself the benefit of the doubt that whoever you’ve been doesn’t mean you have to repeat being that way for the rest of your life.

(09:03)
Now, I’m so familiar in my practice where someone will say something like, look at my wife, or look at my husband, and I won’t let it go further than that. I’ll stop it right, right away and say, could we pause for a moment and see how do you think you’ve sounded when you said, look at my wife? And it usually takes a little while for somebody to say, condescending, arrogant, superior, righteous, and then asking them, could you say that in a way that is more sensitive? Now, of course, as I say that to them, I’ve gotta be careful that I don’t say, could you say that in a way that’s more sensitive? Because we can’t support others with tone of voice unless our own tone of voice is conducive to caring relationships. So as we prepare for this guided meditation, let yourself really join right now your challenging emotions and your awareness of specific flashes, of your tone of voice, where it really did create suffering or you see others that have spoken to you in a tone of voice and that likely created a reaction.

(10:39)
And you can see all of that more clearly and recognize that all of these challenging emotions and challenging tones of voice are a result of frustrated needs. Now, if needs or challenging emotions are not really lucid to you, it’s so important to go to AwarenessThatHeals.org if you don’t already have it. And download the free Introspective Guides, which identify 75 Challenging Emotions and 75 Essential Needs that will allow you to identify your own, if it’s hard for you. So in the following guided meditation that we’re gonna do, we’re gonna look at condescension and arrogance. Now, this may or may not be yours, but as we’ve discussed before, we’re using a specific challenging emotion so that you can learn the nuances of how to deal with it.

(11:56)
Because if we leave it in general, it’s harder to make it clear the subtle points that you need to develop to be able to shift and become aware of your challenging emotion and how you respond to take care of your needs. So please do substitute your challenging emotion, even though I’m using condescension and arrogance as the main one that you’ll be hearing. The most important part is that you’re embodying and keeping your awareness on your challenging emotion, being sensitive to it, being aware of it, tolerating it, accepting it, and then asking How can I best take care of my needs? And discover that. And the pathways that can support you to care for yourself and those close to you. Guided meditation is for so many people, the best way to truly gain benefit in your response to personal challenges. As you invest and bring your own experience to the guided meditations, you’ll give yourself the best chance to change long-standing patterns from suffering toward a state of well-being, peace and healing. It’s important to put yourself in a comfortable body position, in a private space where you’re not disturbed, turn off your phone and be ready to really be alert.

(13:43)
So just start off by doing a body scan and seeing how does your body feel and notice if there’s any tension in your jaw or your stomach, shoulders. And feel free to just move around a little bit to care for your body itself. See if breathing helps or movement helps, but just know that you want to care for your body’s ease because we can be on such automatic pilots, you can be on such automatic pilots that you forget that, of course, I want to have my body be as relaxed as possible. And as you find this place of a bit more relaxation, ask yourself, when have you been condescending or arrogant, superior or righteous? And look for examples of it. And if you can’t find any examples of yourself, look harder. And also, I’m sure you can at least find examples of people around you that were condescending or arrogant or righteous and see your challenging emotions. And particularly for this meditation, we’re using condescension and arrogance so that you can identify it and see the subtlety of how when we’re condescending or when you’re condescending and arrogant, typically it’s like a blindfold. It’s like it’s not socially appropriate to be condescending and arrogant and just say out loud, “Oh, by the way, I’m just being condescending and arrogant with you.”

(16:18)
We have trained ourselves to be unconscious when we’re condescending or arrogant unless we really have a more serious issue where I’m condescending and arrogant and I don’t care ’cause everybody deserves it or you deserve it. So by being aware of the condescension, arrogance, superiority, righteousness, that is a gift because by being aware of it, you no longer are being driven by it. You have a choice to be able to start to impact that tone of voice. So just pause again and look at your life situations, really glimpse the times that you’ve been interacting. And very likely these kinds of feelings will come out most with what psychology refers to as your attached relationships, which means relationships where you’re living with someone or have lived with someone, or they’re really important to you, which is a thing that most people don’t understand well ’cause it seems like if somebody’s really close to you, they’d be the people that you would not be that way with. But typically because you need them so much, if they don’t fulfill your needs, that’s when you see the condescension. So really sensitize yourself to see the paradox that if you can see from a neutral observer, from a witness, or just an honest awareness, this quality coming out of your vocal chords, you’ve just opened the door to lessen the chance for suffering.

(18:38)
So as you keep scanning, just as gently as possible, identify the feeling of condescension and arrogance. And as you do, ask yourself, do I want to find a way to be more caring and still take care of my needs? Well, of course you do if you ask the question, but you need to ask the question. So again, do I want to find a way to be more caring and still take care of my needs? When you’re in that moment, you’re at a pivotal place where you can change the quality of your relationship. It’s quite miraculous when you see how much potency it has. If you’re honest and humble enough, humility’s a big part of this. Honesty is a big part of this. To see yourself naked and not let yourself be believing, I did it because you did X, Y, Z, or it was you first.

(20:06)
Almost all of us are conditioned to believe that if someone doesn’t treat us well, it’s a version of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth. If you’re angry at me, I’m gonna be angry at you automatically. And this really is, it’s not turning the cheek, it’s temporarily turning the cheek, but then coming back and being able to find your best self because you’re asking yourself, how can I express my tone of voice that has a musical quality that is just the right kind of music and discover and express my need in a way that dignifies myself, my relationship, and really life itself. ‘Cause if you get this, and if you keep tracking right now and ongoing where your tone of voice creates suffering and you know that you wanna bring your heart and your wisdom into your tone of voice, you have a dynamic relationship with yourself. You are not a fixed entity, you’re a process. You’re alive. You’re using your honesty and your intention to care as a dynamism. But you need to remember, and then you need to be wise enough to look at, gee, how did it really work out when I just reacted impulsively and emotionally?

(21:57)
How can I make it work out when I really pause and accept, ah, this is my feeling state. I don’t want to just act it out. And I also don’t wanna suppress it. I wanna recognize that it’s there. I wanna recognize that I have a need that wasn’t satisfied. I wanna identify the need and then I want to do my best to communicate the need if it’s at all possible. And when it’s not possible, I wanna go through the same process internally. Let’s say you’re with your boss. Maybe that’s the situation you’re flashing on, and your boss will not tolerate anything at all. Then what you are going to wanna do is say, okay, I’m furious at my boss and if I express this, I’m fired. And I, and I need the money, I need the work. And if I express my need even cleanly, he or she’s gonna be defensive. And so I need to work it out inside myself. I need to come to a tolerance and or an acceptance of my feeling and then ask myself, how do I best take care of myself? And then you might say, you know what? This is not the time for the truth to be expressed even cleanly. I need to keep my work unless I have another alternative. So I just want to be relatively peaceful or benign and recognize that is the wisdom of sometimes recognizing that being authentic is not the right path, not when you have someone that’s completely unreceptive.

(24:09)
So this is not a one size fits all situation. You also need to read the situation of where you are and ask yourself, how do I best take care of myself in this unique situation? As you do this and you’re looking, see if you can sense the potential optimism, the potential wisdom that you can impart or inwardly experience. That can be your sense of identity. This can actually go so deep if you practice it for a long while, where this is much more powerful than your feelings themselves, your wisdom, your wanting to care, your wanting to be sensible can start to become more important to you than your feelings. Now, that’s an evolutionary step, a big leap for right now. You’re just trying to do the little moves that will give you a chance of best taking care of the situation you’re in. So it’s so important to keep staying aware of your own rationalizations. So look for them now where well, they deserve it. Yeah, I don’t wanna stop my feelings because they just shit on me and see that these are half-truths. It may be a fact that that happened. Let’s say it is a fact. But that doesn’t mean that for you to respond in kind is going to leave you living a fulfilled life.

(26:27)
This wisdom, your wisdom, ask it, does it not wanna live a fulfilled life? Do you not want to take care of your needs and discover them? Do you not wanna have both that clarity of need and capacity to send the music that’s needed to define yourself more and more as that mixture of heart and wisdom? So just pause. Don’t just trust your feelings. This is not a time to trust your gut. See if you have largely trusted your gut, like most of humanity, and see if you can realize that by taking the step of acceptance of your condescension arrogance. And then ask this question and just let it give you all kinds of alternatives as to how you need to relate in your tone and your words to inspire your life to leave you encouraged to develop trust and peace. See if you can leave this meditation with a prayer. May I remember when I’m most challenged to be aware of my needs and my tone of voice so I can take care of myself in a way that’s really going to allow my life to be intimate and more inspired and more fulfilled.

(28:29)
So where does this leave you? Did you miss it? Did you really go into it when you went into it? If you did, did it move you? Did it leave you skeptical? Did it leave you feeling helpless like you can’t do it? If that latter part is where it is, I encourage you to listen to it over and over and over again for practice ’cause we all need practice because our conditioning is so strong to just react, to just trust our guts. And this is not a time when we’re in challenging emotions to just trust our guts. This is the time to be aware of tone of voice, to be aware of our needs, to be aware of our wish, to bring our heart and wisdom to our life of which we are all capable of.

(29:28)
So wherever it leaves you, don’t let that place it left you, be the end. Keep in dialogue. Even if you’re left skeptical, let the skepticism say, yeah, but maybe, maybe I do have more wisdom and heart than I’m giving myself credit for. Or maybe if I practiced it more, and I do invite you, if you have a pithy summary of the situation you’re in, feel free to send me a short question and I will do my very best to get back to you as it relates to your tone of voice, the situation you’re in, and where you are with it, and what you’re asking for. So I wish for you to see that you have the capacity for wisdom. And even if you’re left feeling inadequate, skeptical, let it be a process where you’re having a conversation with you, where you’re assuming, even if you have to borrow the words that you heard today, borrow them.

(30:42)
I would like to find a way to bring my heart and wisdom to my challenging emotions and my tone of voice and take care of my needs at the same time. It’s not hard just to be blindly angry, but it’s hard when you realize we’re not talking about you following my wisdom. We’re talking about you following your own. We’re not talking about you following my needs. We’re talking about you discovering your needs and learning how to take care of yourself. And so I encourage you to keep this live dialogue no matter where you’re left, whether you’re encouraged or discouraged. Let this dialogue continue to develop inside you because I know that you’re capable of bringing your heart and wisdom to your life, challenges through your vocal chords and bringing music to your inner life and your outer life. Thank you very much.

Thanks for listening to Awareness That Heals, please click subscribe so you won’t miss an episode. If you love the podcast, the best way to help spread the word is to rate and review the show. This helps other listeners like you find this, we’re deeply grateful you’re here and that we have found each other. We encourage you to download our Introspective Guides at AwarenessThatHeals.org. They will be helpful to you while listening to our podcast.

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