Question: It’s well known that we hear our own voices differently while speaking. However, many people feel physically uncomfortable listening to recordings of their speech. Why is this?
Feeling physically uncomfortable listening to recordings of your own speech has a lot to do with our unrealistic psychic expectations of ourselves. Our mental pictures of how a “perfect” voice should sound like makes our actual voice sounds inadequate. Our real voice output can never measure up to the so called “perfect” sound that we crave in the subconscious.
Therefore, our cognitive distortions are to blame. Dr Albert Ellis, one of the earliest advocates of cognitive behavioural therapy, observed that an average person carries between his ears 5 to 500 cognitive distortions throughout his lifetime. These distortions range from how we think we look, to how we think others perceive us, and all the way to what we think we can or cannot do in life.
The good news is that humans are extremely adaptive. In other words, we get more comfortable towards anything that we constantly get exposed to. Therefore, you may feel uncomfortable at first listening to the recordings of your speech, but if you keep up the habit, you will eventually feel at home in the environment of your own sound.
Many exceptional public speakers also experienced this early distortions. But they refused to quit as they cherished the opportunities of learning from their mistakes through playback than the uneasiness that hearing their own voice presented to them.
In the school of success, self-improvement takes precedence over self-gratification. After all, most people would prefer quality contents to perfect tonality. As far as success is concerned, perfection is never necessary nor required. Just develop yourself to the highest quality possible. Believe that you have something of value to say. Then deliver it with passion and confidence.
Of course, when you later get a chance to listen to your own recordings, listen for what can be improved, as opposed to what can be condemned.
Here are some articles that can be helpful in the area of how to control our negative thoughts: