You've been reading for some time. Be sure to take a break and get outside. Enjoy the sunshine on your face, the freedom of a park, lake, beach, ocean ...your favorite place, or just open the window for the feel of fresh air.
The words below started off with some focus, but I decided to take a break too and let my words just come out with my thoughts for the most part. In a way I'm practicing exactly what I'm preaching, that is just be yourself, see how you are, and then do some more work. Its funny how that happens!
Listening to yourself and others is valuable. When you talk, you often aren't conscious of your tone, your expression, or even your words at times. They come out automatically without thought. There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with not thinking and simply responding. What's wrong often is the response itself. When you speak put a little capture device in your head, a tickler, a recorder, let yourself speak freely, and then look at it later. If you spend enough time you will learn the value of every word and the tone used when you speak and when others speak. When you speak from the heart, people know it, they feel it.
Listening to yourself becomes part of a self correcting process. After you see yourself, you try again in your mind, what should I have said? You say it. It doesn't quite sound true, not quite good enough. Perhaps, how did you say it? What tone did you use? You try again in your mind until you get it right. Then next time hopefully you will. Once you've thought it through on this level, you can go deeper, you can go into it, you can open up your words and see the emotional content, examine the emotional content, and resolve it. So many advocates of personal development and other practices say live in the moment, think not of the past or the future. I say resolve the past so that instead of expending energy to focus only on the present you simply exist happily in the present with the past. Focussing on only the present is difficult, but not as difficult as resolving the past. That is why so many advocates focus on the present. So much of meditation taught is focussing on something so as to exclude the past. Yet this requires mental focus, mental tension, that will weigh you down. The goal of this site is to show you how to live wonderfully by living with as little effort as possible. It takes more work initially, but its worth it!
Now lets more closely examine this process. Words have emotional content both in the word itself and in the tone used to deliver the word. Either of these, the word or the tone used in conveying the word, can hold an emotional connection for you. Often when you speak or hear a word, it is an opportunity to resolve an underlying emotion into a more positive one. For instance, lets look at some words, such as irritated, freedom, and competitiveness. Each of these words stands by itself and has an emotional connotation on its own within our internal hierarchy. Can you place them in order? Freedom is best, competitiveness is fine, and irritated is generally unfortunate. Can you feel yourself moving from positive to negative? Now before you find the exception remember that any word may be perfect for a particular circumstance. Now that you've looked at the word itself, its time to look at the tone of the word.
The tone is the manner in which we convey the word. Is it a fair tone? Is it convincing without being disrespectful? These nuances are essential in our daily communication and many of us are essentially unaware of this hidden communication which is occurring. Take a moment to slow down and absorb the emotional content and the manner in which I say the following. Words such as fear, pain, immediately conjure up emotions which we feel are negative. Many of us are so hyped up with fear that we respond instantly. Relax, there is no threat. Do you see how the emotional content has changed with each word as you hear it or in this case read it. PAIN! Relax, you feel good! FEAR! Its okay, your okay. Can you see the emotional content in these words as I bounce from one extreme to the other? Can you feel it? Even the word "emotions" has a negative connotation for many. Yet emotions are a huge component of who we are. Let's win with emotions! Its okay to be emotional, if your healthy, in fact its beautiful to have healthy emotions. When you have healthy emotions you are beautiful.
As you have seen, if you do this work long enough you can become aware of both the word, its inherent emotional connotation, and the actual tone that it is conveyed in. You can learn to focus on a criticism to see if its worthwhile without reacting to the emotional aspects. You can learn to dissolve an unhealthy emotional reaction to words by examining and resolving the emotional content in the word. Eventually you simply become aware of the tone and the word used and react in a healthy way. There is a subtle difference between this approach and the approach of living in the present. When you have resolved the past, no energy is expended to simply be as you are. No one can trigger you to think of the past if you've already resolved it. The truth is the work is a continual set of iterations and you improve each time. It is only through repetition that you begin to have the amazing experience of saying something without thinking and then realizing how incredibly positive you were. It feels really good!! Keep at it! Keep opening. Love you!