infinite lifePam Dunn writes in her soon-to-be published book that your tone of voice reveals how you are really feeling. Enjoy this excerpt from “It’s Time to Look Inside- to see yourself and everyone through the lens of magnificence” and consider how your tone affects your children and parenting.

TONE – THE VERBAL EXPRESSION OF OUR FEELINGS

Excerpt from

It’s Time to Look Inside – to see yourself and everyone through the lens of magnificence, by Pam Dunn

I realize that it doesn’t always seem like we choose our feelings.  The way to become more conscious and understand better about the feelings you are choosing is to pay attention to and recognize your tone of voice.  Your tone of voice (what is expressed on the outside) is an indication of what you are feeling on the inside and begins to tell the story of what you were thinking about yourself (or men or women or life, or the situation etc.) that brought on that feeling. 

Tone is the verbal expression of a feeling.  Our tone and the feelings help us know if we are in alignment with our stated values, beliefs, intentions or goals. .  You see, we do not always behave based on those stated values, beliefs, intentions or goals.  We behave based on what we feel, whether conscious or not!  Sometimes our tone – the verbal expression of our feelings derail our best efforts. This is actually done below our level of awareness.  I’ll give you an example:  I was on a hike with my sons and Tom had a very long stick he was pretending was a spear.  He was aiming it at certain things ahead of us and throwing it, then running ahead to pick it up.  He had been doing this for quite a while when he aimed at something, threw the “spear” and missed his stated target.  Without hesitation he ran ahead, picked up the “spear” and threw it in the woods, yelling “stupid spear!”  I laughed out loud!  I asked him, “Do you really think it is the spear’s fault for missing your target?”  He didn’t really understand my question because how could it be the spear’s fault! so I explained that he was the one throwing the spear and guiding the spear, so perhaps he was the one responsible for it not reaching the target. But because he was judging himself for not reaching the target, he used a tone (anger) and words that suggested it was the spear’s fault.  When doing THIS, he does not have to assume any responsibility for becoming a better aim.

This may seem like a silly example and appear difficult to translate to relationships, but it is quite typical of what we do regularly with people.  For example, I was later than I originally planned arriving to the airport.  I was waiting in line for security, internally huffing, puffing and rolling my eyes because the people in front of me were taking so long!  You see, if I had arrived on time, I wouldn’t need to be worried about time.  However, since I was the one who was late, my huffing, puffing and rolling of eyes gave me the FEELING (inside my head) that if I missed my flight it would have been the fault of the people in front of me, NOT me – even though intellectually (my stated belief) I would tell you it was my fault I was late! 

This story shows us so many things like the subtle ways we blame (huffing, rolling of the eyes, throwing things, etc.), or the automatic, yet somewhat ridiculous idea that blaming someone else for being late is effective.  If you had asked me right after that, “Do you think it was their fault you were late?”  I would have definitely said, “No!”  It is simply funny to recognize how we unconsciously blame through the use of our tone (the feelings inside of our head).  It’s important to pay attention to this  because a habit of blaming leads to bullying behavior as well as feeling like a victim.  This is reason enough to take a look at our tone – the verbal expression of our feelings on the inside – check out if those are the feelings we wish to create – and if not, find another way to consciously respond.

 

VARIOUS TONES AND TURN AROUNDS

Tone & Feeling

Thoughts

Insights, Turn Arounds and Questions

Angry

 

“I can’t get them to do what I want.”“I am a bad manager/leader/parent etc.”“Why can’t they do or say what I want them to?” Realize we use anger to disguise the feeling of powerlessness. You can actually feel powerful at the exact time you are claiming that others have power.Realize you feel powerless. Discover for yourself three ways to get what you want.What is it that you can do to change this situation?

Disgusted

“If only others were more capable, I would not be experiencing this difficulty.”“I’ve done all I can.” Realize we use disgust to feel superior without having to take action or switch to compassion. Do something valuable or helpful for the person you have decided to be disgusted with.What can you do to improve this situation, even if it is to improve your perspective?

Irritated

Annoyed

“My lack of serenity is caused by circumstances or the behavior of others.”“If only …” Realize we use feelings of irritation to justify putting the responsibility of the situation outside ourselves. Do what you want in the moment while telling yourself 3 things you appreciate about yourself.  Practice serenity.What is it that you really want or need?

Frustrated

“Things outside my control block me.”“It is not working”“I’ve tried everything!” Realize we use frustration to justify quitting prior to giving full effort.Re-commit to what you want and take one more step towards that goal with an action.What is one thing you can do to move forward?

Rushed

“I am too busy to do all this. I should be doing something else but….” Realize we use ‘rushed” to make us feel important often in moments when we are unsure of ourselves.  Relax.  Remind yourself that what you do is not who you are.  Contribute by acting purposefully rather than urgently.What do you think is the most important thing you could do right now? How can I help you?

Indecisive

“If I commit, they will hold me accountable“
“I didn’t have enough information to wisely decide.”“What if it’s the wrong decision?”“What if…?”
Realize we use indecisiveness because we are afraid to make mistakes, and want to justify avoiding accountability. Make a decision and then make it the best decision through your actions.Does it really matter what you choose? Why?

Dissatisfaction

“Because of them (their inability…) I am not getting what I need or expected.”“He/She is not meeting my needs.” Realize that we use dissatisfaction to justify leaning on others to improve the situation.Do for yourself what you are dissatisfied about.What is it that you actually expected? What is it that you really want?

Guilt

“I’ve done something I wish I would not have done”“It’s all my fault.”“I should have …”“I should not have …” Realize we use guilt to feel we have made amends without having to do anything to make up for what we feel guilty about.If you feel guilty, you are guilty. Do a make-up for the person you have been inconsiderate to.Is there anything you would have done differently in this situation?

Hurt

“I feel hurt that you did not reward my effort in an appropriate way”“You should have….”“Why does it/them have to be that way?” Realize we thought we were doing something for somebody else, but actually we were doing it for our own recognition; your actions had a “hook. You were fishing rather than feeding the fish.Ask for what you really want and be responsible for getting it.How did it feel?

Stressed

“I have so much to do I don’t know where to start.”  Am I capable of doing everything!” Realize we are overwhelming ourselves to avoid setting priorities and taking responsibility.How did it get to this point?

 

Once you identify what you are FEELING, before you respond, you will want to feel the feeling.  The way to do that is – recognize where in your body the feeling is generated put your hand on that place on your body then follow the feeling down through your feet and up through the top of your head once this is complete – then respond.

Until we completely feel the feeling throughout ourselves, we will be likely to project the feeling.  In other words, we will, for example feel angry, then proceed to tell the person that triggered this feeling that we are angry with them for their behavior.  This has the potential of causing unnecessary conflict because you will be inadvertently blaming them for your angry feelings.  If you fully feel the feeling then you will respond from a place of compassion with a matching tone.. This will assist you in getting more of what you want from the relationship.  This process works better than explaining why someone “made” you feel angry.

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Pam Dunn is the president of Your Infinite Life, a company that serves as a bridge for people as we guide them to discover, honor and live their unique life’s purpose. Your Infinite Life provides training and coaching via course experiences, quests, coaching and workshops.