Does it convey confidence? Does your voice demonstrate to others that you are fairly grounded and serene? What about happy? And most importantly does it sound congruent with the affect going on? In other words, do your words and feelings you are trying to convey match? If you notice some disparities here, don’t worry you are not alone. The incongruence is there for very good reason. Your voice is a very vulnerable piece of you, and if there was any distorted messaging from your past, I can bet it affected how you express yourself.
One of the more obvious voice attributes is having a flat, soft monotone voice. The one that protects you from expressing true anger, sadness, fear or joy so you therefore aren’t vulnerable. Yet also the one that lets no one in, and doesn’t allow you to feel truly connected to others. If your voice is simply soft and meek, even when you’re very angry, you may also want to take a look at where that may come from. Are you afraid to speak out? Do you remember early experiences when you did and that didn’t go so well? You may have been punished, ridiculed or ignored. Worse, you may have been rewarded for being the content, compliant child who was rarely the squeaky wheel.
Maybe you voice has certain tightness to it, which can convey a sense of guardedness. Usually early trauma or a string of bad experiences can lead to the understandable self-protection here. Lack of affectionate, warm and vulnerable connections can also play into this.
Similarly, some of us can trend our voice to a higher pitched, anxious sound, particularly when we are feeling stressed. When fear becomes more of a chronic state in our lives especially early on, we can create an undercurrent to our voice that sounds anxious. Of course, this is blended with what we have been handed genetically, mixed with familial influences around “how” we express ourselves. Family members begin to sound similar over time. Adolescence can bring its own peer and other social influences to our speech.
It might be interesting for you to quietly notice your many voices in different environments. Who is around you and how safe do you feel? How might the differences be connected to unconscious or subconscious feelings we aren’t aware going on? Think back over your life. How does this connect perhaps and make sense for you?
Take some time this week to do an internal experiment no one even needs to know about except you. Focus on trying to enliven your voice, match it to the emotion, and notice how you either keep it all on the surface or can you begin to connect deeper by showing genuine interest and vulnerability– just with your eye contact and voice? Join us on the conversation at Episode 25 this week. We’ll be diving right in!