Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why Can't I Be Understood?

Why is it that my partner and I can use the same words and still not get the correct message?

When we communicate we are sending a message based not only on our verbal language, but on what the words in our language mean to us. We develop the meaning of those words in our family of origin. When each of us is young we learn spoken language from our caretakers. As they speak we listen and grasp the intended, as well as the inferred meaning from their use of language. Not only do we learn the apparent meaning of words, but we learn the underlying meaning implied by tone of voice and posture when the words are spoken.

When caretakers talk among themselves, they may use words that have multiple meanings. A word such as touchy can mean excessive handling of an object, over reacting to an action or statement or even tender qualities when used in combination with the word feely in slang. Depending on the tone of voice, the facial expression and the context of the remark, we learn as small children how and when to use such a word. These early lessons are unique to each of us. Siblings may have similar language usage and understanding, but their lingo is not exactly alike.

When we communicate with out partner we may easily forget that we don't share the same early life lessons and have not come from the same family of origin. We make a statement and have trouble being understood, as we may make a host of assumptions regarding what the phrase means to us, that don't apply to our partner. If we are to be understood we need to be as clear as possible in our discourse. We try to explain not only what is apparent in our usage of language, but what is not apparent, our lingo. Over time as we come to know one another better and learn more about each other's families of origin, we begin to share one another's lingo and clarity becomes easier to reach.

This is especially true for partners from varying cultures where language and customs may be vastly different. It is important to share not only the pleasures of our similarities, but also the gift of learning from our differences.

When we begin to truly understand one another the facade of fear slips away showing us that we are truly all the same species, human beings. In beginning to understand one anothers lingo we add to the possibility that one day humanity will come to realize that most of us are ordinary citizens who wish to live in peace with all of the world.

No comments:

Post a Comment