How many times have you spoken dearly to your pet and felt absolutely understood. Wait, isn’t your pet someone who speaks a language which you might not even dream to understand in your lifetime! Again how many times have you conversed with a friend, parent or a partner and felt not understood? Plenty of times I suppose. Now, we are talking about a person who speaks the very own language as yours. Why is it that the language that is bringing us together and connecting us, falls short when it comes to creating perfect understanding?
Our Language: Representation of our Unique Experiencing & Meaning System
Imagine that you and few of your friends are out in the city; you are very hungry and manage to find a restaurant which is offering only buffet. There are several items on the buffet for you to grab and you happily choose from the options. Now stand back and think. Is there a guarantee that the items on the buffet are exactly what you wanted to eat..?? Need not be, right. Again once you choose an item, say ‘Malai Kofta’, and taste it. The way you experience and explain the item might be totally different from the way your friends do, though you are experiencing and explaining the same dish. Similarly, When you were born, you were eager to connect and socialize hence you embraced the language you came across with its limited communication options. Now, you are very unique in your experiencing of the world and you can only use certain words you are familiar with, within your cultural exposure to communicate your experiencing. You manage to communicate as effectively as possible. However what is forgotten here is the fact that the other person to whom communication is directed is unique as well with his own experiencing, exposure and choice of words. He might understand it in his own way. It is just little better than two deaf men trying to make sense of vivid conversation.
Expectations from Everyone else to be Meaning the same with their Words
Now think about the last real conversation you had with your mother or your partner. You tend to keep it as short as possible and expect her/him to know what you meant. You get irritated when the other person misreads you. What exactly is happening here? First of all the language is the limited exposure of our experiencing and on top we are not even ensuring that the message has gone to other person with the meaning we wanted to communicate. We start thinking that Jeez, this person rarely understands me, how am I supposed to stand him/her and even like him/her..? This would be another story with friends as with friends we usually are conversing about topics which are not of personal depth or emotionally charged. Again we also could be befriending those who share our meaning system to great extent..!
Non-Verbals: The Universal Language with mostly shared Meaning Systems
Now, how do we resolve his discrepancy? We would need to keep in mind that though language seems universal it is not, it is very unique and specific to the person however there is another huge part of our communication system, namely 93% which is universal - The non- verbal system. We should learn to pay more attention to non-verbal communication to understand ourselves and others better. When you tune into the non-verbals, the meanings become clearer.
Using Language in Right Way to make Communication Effective!
Language is an effort to fill all the water in the ocean in a gigantic tank. The ocean is ocean how much ever big the tank is. On top we all carry our own versions of the tank with different size and shape. Language no doubt plays a huge role in connecting us and advancing the mankind however we should never forget that it is a small portion of effective communication and also a limiting factor. In all our versions of language meanings go far beyond the words…Now tell me did I manage to make sense in this 7%....I can only be optimistic here.. ;)