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With the exception of impersonators, most people believe that they only have one voice. That voice is used to express one's feelings and needs. It can be vocalized either loudly or softly; it's tone can change from one of sarcasm to that of compassion; one's voice can be used to express happiness, anger, sadness, silliness, compliments or criticisms. We have our "baby" voice, (typically reserved for newborns), our disciplinary voice (used for our children), our boisterous voice (most commonly found at ballgames, amusement parks or hurled at obnoxious drivers), and our multi-purpose whisper. Words are powerful energies that can encourage, degrade, incite fear, convey love, and so much more. What few people realize is that we have not a single voice but actually two: we have our inner voice - our thoughts - which may then be expressed verbally in our outer voice. Let's examine the role of both and how they impact our relationships.
In Chapter 4 of my book, The Secret Side of Anger, I speak about a formula that drives the course of our life which I refer to as T~E~C~O Magic: Thoughts, Emotions, Choice, Outcome. The most powerful tool we have are our thoughts, our internal voice that speaks to us throughout the course of every day. From forming opinions about the weather, to determining what items of clothing we'll wear, to what we think about our children, spouse, friends, coworkers, and even strangers, what we say to ourselves impacts how we feel and ultimately how we treat others in our life.
Consider this: People often believe that when they meet the right person they magically fall in love with them. In most circumstances, at some point the magic fades and they fall out of love. This is a common misconception. What actually takes place is that initially our internal voice repeatedly reminds us of the wonderful attributes the other person possesses. "She's beautiful!" "He's so smart!" "I love the way he's so laid back and easy going." Our internal voice reminds us of everything wonderful about our significant other. Thoughts, the words and opinions we form in our mind, create Emotions. All feelings are generated by our internal voice. And it's the feelings that we eventually act out in the subsequent Choices we make - how we choose to speak to and/or treat our partner. We may share compliments or express our gratitude at having such a wonderful person to share our life with. In this case, the Outcome, or result, is a relationship that flourishes.
However, at some point our thoughts typically begin to change. The positive, loving reminders are exchanged for harsh criticism. "She's beautiful" is replaced with "She conceited." The quality once referred to as "smart" now is defined as "arrogant". "Laid back and easy going" is relabeled "lazy and a wimp." Regardless of the individual's character or actually behaviors, it is our internal voice, how we label them, that ultimately determines how we feel about them. Feelings change over the course of any relationship not necessarily based on the changes that occur within each party but rather how each person chooses to see their partner. People will choose to see what they want to see and feel what they want to feel about one another. The truth about who that person actually is has little, if anything, to do with it.
How we feel about our partner dictates how we treat them. Those who are treated well remain in relationships and work together to foster a healthy, satisfying, lifetime partnership. Those who allow their inner voice to poison their emotions will ultimately sabotage any love and commitment the two originally shared. One can secure the well-being of their marriage, or any other significant relationship, by utilizing this one secret weapon: monitor and carefully choose your internal voice for it determines how you feel and treat your spouse and ultimately directs the course of your relationship.
Thought ~ Emotion ~ Choice ~ Outcome: TECO Magic: it really works. I should know: this is what's kept my 20-year marriage alive and happy.
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