Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The Real Me
You know, we all spend so much of our time trying to be completely understood. In the end, this process proves almost futile considering the result. We pretty much feel like cave people communicating our essential thoughts to others with a series of grunts and random minimalistic mutterings. Try counting how many people you know who really understand you and your reasoning through thick and thin. Try as you may, you usually count just a few people as those who share your precious feelings.
We naturally encounter impediments to good communication. We must take all the impediments to this process into consideration as we attempt to be understood. The following questions represent important considerations for communicating. (V. Saxena, "Communicating Effectively: Five Impediments to Communication," www.associatedcontent.com, October 8 2008)
1. Are we speaking the same language as our recipient or is the language itself unfamiliar?
2. Does bad timing on the recipient's part keep our message from being heard?
3. Does the recipient of the subject matter have a bad attitude toward us?
4. Does a relationship exists between us and the recipient that may inhibit communication?
5. Do differences in people such as age, experiences, gender, intelligence, race, and religion affect how our message is received?
We could go on and on about problems and barriers to effective communication; however, we seldom encounter a perfect environment with perfect conditions and perfect conversational participants. These ideal conditions just seldom happen, and today, with bits and pieces of information replacing longer content, we tend to over-condense the material and tune out the message. My point is that, try as we might, people seem less willing to find common ground on issues and beliefs of disagreement.
Today, we are quick to provide slanted views and one-sided considerations. Our noble goal of knowing the honest interests and makeup of others has fallen below our selfish goal to keep a safe perch above others we know. Intimidation, fear of exposing faults, and outright partisan behavior have all played parts in the breakdown. The buddies on our old playgrounds of grade school with whom we scratched and clawed nearly every day until we perfected wonderful and respectful relationships through mutual experience, have grown old and moved away. We are left to our own devices for acquiring those who eventually understand us.
I must tell you that most people will not understand the real you. You can condense yourself to billboards, to articles, to Facebook, to books, to ad campaigns, to press releases, to public soapboxes. You are just muddying the waters in which you swim. The human spirit and particular understandings you possess are unique and defy the greatest efforts of communication. That is not to say "a real you" doesn't exist, and it certainly doesn't mean you should stop communicating its existence. But, maybe it does suggest that we shouldn't spend so much time trying to convey our product to others and just live our lives.
One Or the Other
When I growl, one thinks a bear,
The other an empty stomach.
If I shed a tear, one thinks sad rain,
The other despises a weakling.
As I sit quiet, one is certain I am hickory,
The other assumes I clear my mind.
When I speak out, one observes rash barking,
The other longs to fire my words like a rifle.
After I fall and fail, one thinks "stupid clown."
The other brings words of healing.
My self-portrayal knows no bounds
As it forms in the minds of one or the other.