Some highly sensitive people have particularly sensitive ears. I happen to be one of those people, hence why I talk quietly and that doesn’t exactly help me when I want to sound assertive and/or confident. But not being heard in almost every conversation is unfair, and I wish I started practice sooner because results are almost instantaneous.
Having sensitive hearing means that you’re pushing yourself to speak up, but that makes you feel tired very quickly. When you are not using your voice appropriately, you’re allowing all of those external sounds dominate your hearing. Getting overwhelmed becomes very easy.
This is what I’ve recently tested to help me in this problem, and I hope it helps you too:
SIGH. That’s right, sighing doesn’t always mean you’re sad. Sighing can help you to redirect your attention to your own energy.
For example, you are talking with someone in the park but there is a lot of people, buzzing insects and dogs barking. You want to sigh and then get a good breath in, and only then start saying what you were going to say.
Not only you are going to sound louder (but not screaming loud) because your body relaxed a bit, but also you’ll be able to redirect your attention to the conversation and your own feelings.
But be careful, a sigh doesn’t involve any effort. Just breathe out. I started to do it even just to give my brain a brief break, because I get overwhelmed with everything so easily.
PRACTICE. If you can exercise your voice for singing even if you ‘don’t have a voice’, then the same CAN be done for the voice you use for talking. Just simply stand in front of a mirror and practice saying something you said in last conversation you had with someone.
How do you want to sound? When I practice, I try to remember movies or real life situations where someone said something similar to the line I’m practising and try to get the same feel.
There is also a trick to sounding more genuine! Just imagine last time you felt a certain emotion and feel it. Do not try to come up with some definition for it or a logical step-by-step process, just follow your feelings from the image you imagined in your head.
When I tried it, I immediately felt a great sense of assurance that no matter what situation is, it will be my feelings that I’ll be experiencing and not the feelings of someone else that I happened to absorb.
Quiet voice is often an issue when a person lacks assertiveness. There are some components to an assertive voice you might want to pay attention to ( A. R. Emmons 2017):
Now, I practice every day for at least a minute, so be sure you’re not alone! I practice in front of my mirror, recording myself on to a voice recorder. From the start it surely felt really bad, like when was the last time I heard my voice? Oh wait, I didn’t, its so quiet I’m not used to even hearing it naturally.
Talking on the same volume level as other people makes me hear my voice so much more often that sometimes I even get overstimulated and my head starts to hurt. I heard that noise reducing earbuds can help but I’m still to test that theory.
If you are a highly sensitive person and have a problem with directing your voice and maybe noise pollution on top of that, I would be interested in reading about how you deal with these everyday challenges. Tell me in the comment section below!