Communication is the art of presenting our thoughts to others.

Communication is not only about what we say but how we behave, which is portrayed through our body language.

Body language is non-verbal; it’s the unspoken gestures that reveal our true emotions and intentions.


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According to Mehrabian’s Communication Model, 93 percent of our communication comes from non-verbal cues; the other 7 percent includes our choice of words and the tone of our voice.

The phrase ‘That’s not what I meant’ in a discussion is a sign that what we were thinking has not been communicated well to another person.

But where do we learn good communication from?

There are classes we can take, but I have found that professional actors are the masters of communication.

Actors immerse themselves in roles so that they can empathize with the mood, intentions, and behaviours of the characters they portray.

Not only do they need to understand their own emotions fully but they need to know how to communicate the emotions of the person they are acting as.

That means that every word, movement, and gesture is calculated to help the audience feel a certain emotion.

If there was one skill everyone had to focus on, it was the art of communication.

It is very necessary to note that,

  • Our dealings can impact other people, especially children, whose minds are like putty that can be moulded by how we speak and behave.
  • Our behaviour can make or break another person’s self-esteem.
  • We are all struggling with something.
  • One kind word can reverberate in a person’s mind for months, picking them up from a bad spell in their lives or pushing them forward to achieve extraordinary things.
  • At times, we do the right thing and pick people up but, at other times, our words drag people down.
  • There is a famous quote, ‘The pen is mightier than the sword.’
  • However, pens do not win battles and swords do not write poetry.
  • Mighty is the hand that knows when to pick up the pen and when to pick up the sword.
  • The bottom line is, words can make or break a person.

How can intangible words travel through the air and affect others?

To understand how this works, we have to delve into the power of the mind.

The difference between the subconscious and conscious mind.

According to Bruce H. Lipton, although the conscious mind thinks in the present, behind the scenes is the tremendous might of the subconscious mind, which is making millions of decisions a day.

Our value system is what feeds into the subconscious mind.

This is why it is difficult to break a habit.

Although our conscious mind wants to stop biting our nails or eating junk food, this habit has been hard-wired into our subconscious mind, which overrides our willpower, leading us back to having shorter nails and plumper waistlines.

Negative talk can have a huge impact on ourselves and others.

If your friends keep saying harmful things to you, it is time to find new friends.

If you keep saying harmful things to yourself, it is time to start valuing yourself.

Humans have a great frequency of consciousness.

How we communicate with others does have a positive or negative effect on their mind.

The impact of our words on the body

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’

This may be the world’s most believed phrase that is untrue.

Studies show that psychological and emotional injuries can have as much damage to the outcome of our lives as physical injuries.

‘Do Words Hurt?’, neuroscientist Maria Richter and her colleagues tested how the brain responds to real and imaginary negative words in different subjects.

They discovered that negative words increase Implicit Processing (IMP) within an area of the brain called the subgenual anterior cingulate cortex.

What this means is that negative words in real life or even negative words that we think of, can release stress and anxiety-inducing chemicals within us.

Therefore, painful words that are imagined or spoken out loud can have physical effects on our bodies in the form of long-term anxiety and a reduction in our mental well-being.

What about positive words?

Dr Andrew Newberg once said, ‘A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.’

‘By holding a positive and optimistic word in our mind, we stimulate frontal lobe activity.

This area includes specific language centres that connect directly to the motor cortex responsible for moving us into action.

And, as our research has shown, the longer we concentrate on positive words, the more we begin to affect other areas of the brain.’

The long-term benefits of sustained positive thoughts are remarkable, as these thoughts change the function of the parietal lobe in our brain.

Not only does positive thinking by holding these words in our mind help us, but it also starts training our brain to see the good in others.

It is only when we do this that we can change how we communicate with others.

It is a scientific fact: if we want to change the world, we have to change ourselves by communicating with ourselves positively.

How our words affect others

Controlling the habit of speaking untruths or harshly is a sign of a leader, as they know how to encourage others through positivity.

This does not mean we do not have to explain harsh truths to people when necessary.

One who is endangering their own life, or the lives of others, needs to be communicated with efficiently and strongly at times.

But that does not imply that the underlying mood behind that communication is not one of kindness.

When helping others is the motivation, although the words may have to be strong, only love will shine through as we have deeply considered the context in which we share them.

  • Where are we speaking these strong words?
  • When are we speaking to them?
  • What is the body language with which we are speaking them?
  • Who else is around when we are speaking to them?

These are a few questions that a kind person will consider when correcting others.

Aggression does not always mean harshness and gentleness doesn’t always mean kindness.

Maturity is knowing what is the best course of action to help others.

It means understanding the context of their problem and communicating with them sensitively.

To know when to speak and when to be quiet is the hallmark of a mature individual.

This takes judgement, wisdom and a deep introspection of our nature.

There are times we must correct people but, as mentioned previously, it should be done sensitively.

Often, it is not about what we say that causes pain but how we say it.

The impact of words on our relationship with others

When we get closer to people, we tend to become looser with our boundaries.

Although this can lead to greater intimacy, it can lead to more conflict.

The reason nations have boundaries is to keep those who are not permitted to enter a country out.

The reason we should have boundaries in our relationships is to keep friendship-breaking activities out.

One of the things I suggest to enhance our communication is to set clear boundaries in our speech with people.

  • What do we reveal to people?
  • How much do we share?
  • What type of language do we use?
  • How often do we meet?
  • Where do we meet?
  • Do we meet alone or in a group?

These are a few questions we can use to judge boundaries with people.

If we do not have boundaries, it can lead to arguments or even worse.

Often, we do not know how to argue without destroying our relationships.

Relationships are beautiful when there is an element of fun.

Jokes and teasing are part of deeper bonding between people, but both parties need to have the same understanding and spirit to take that fun in the right way.

Casual teasing and mockery can lead to emotional harm if done repeatedly even if done among good friends, let alone those who are not.

Such teasing could even turn into emotional abuse, whether done knowingly or unknowingly.

We must know the boundaries and limits of our jokes.

Crossing that line can tarnish our cherished relationships.

Here are some principles to avoid hurting others in our casual conversations:

  • When we tease our closest friends in jest, be sure not to do it repeatedly as nobody likes to be made fun of all the time.
  • We should not stress their insecurities such as body- shaming them (colour of skin, height, weight), mocking the community they come from, their ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, intellectual inability, etc.
  • Finally, it is important to not make jokes about their family.
  • Making jokes about a person’s spouse, mother, father, etc., can harm our relationships.
  • The same principles are applied when someone makes a joke about us.
  • If we are on the receiving end of a joke, we need to be sporting; but if they have stepped over a line and we are hurt, we need to sensibly communicate that across.
  • That may mean being assertive enough to tell people if they have crossed a boundary in their relationship with us.

 

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