Do you love your own voice?

Go out into the world and learn to hear your own voice. In discussions about politics, commenting on a movie you’ve seen, consoling a friend, venting your discomfiture or dismay over a newspaper article, writing a note to your parents, leaving a message after the beep, you are using something most uniquely yours: your own voice. Be aware of it.

A voice is a mysterious thing

The only criteria we have to judge what we use our voice to create, to judge it as something beyond conventional frames of mind, is our very own liking of it. How do we feel when we read, see, or hear it again after an hour, a week, a month, a year? Does it still make our own hearts beat a little faster, our own breath become a little colder, the hairs on our skin rise? How do we listen to our own voice? Is it with the pervasive worry that something could be wrong, that there is a typpo somewhere, that we embarrass ourselves? Do we perceive it is something merely functional, a means of communication and nothing else? If you would have a machine that would detect your state of mind and what you need to express that would have some buttons on it you press to express it in an optimized way, would you use it? If you can avoid the stammering while confessing your love, or the shame while confessing a sin, or a writer’s block, or too many “uh’s”, would you use technology for that?

Or could we listen to its imperfect echoing with a gentler state of mind? Could we learn its – unique – quality and learn to love it. Could we turn ourselves into lovely machines that observe their own rattling with a sense of oily contentment, in love with our voices and convinced the world is a much better place with irreplaceable us in it?

There we have it; I used the U-word. Singular, one, unique. We often read quotes by gurus on one-ness and how we are if we get rid of the temporary mask, one pure being, that we can feel some sort of vibration of the universe in our chest. But the concept of “one-ness” can express very different things. Logic and grammar teach us there’s no one without the other. It’s almost embarrassing to write that here. Your unique self is not just a *different* reverberation of the eternal One. Unique is unique not as singular representation of pure Being, but as an engaging difference with the Other.

That engagement is an interaction that defines our character, approximating a unique personality with a voice that is to be loved by yourself. If we want to make our own voice more lovable, what do we do? We are not talking about expressing the right things, following the righteous path, or lending your voice to something higher and mightier. That all seems worthwhile, but it doesn’t make us fall in love with our own voice. For that, we have to turn to style. We could train to be modest, always give complete and reliable information, be moderately witty, use ellipses and leaps in arguments, show empathy and think from the other’s point of view, use tropes like metaphors and metonymys, and so on.

Of course there is overlap. Avoiding hypocrisy and double standards is a useful improvement to our style and generally recognized as a moral good at the same time. Being consistent, being stubborn, demanding clarity and transparency all amounts to “showing character” and are undoubtedly in most cases the right thing to do.

To summarize, if you want to fall in love with your own voice, you should look away from what you’re saying with it so that you sense your (unique) style better. And once you have fallen in love with that voice, you will be amazed when you find out what your subconscious urges to express with it.

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