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The realm beyond words...

“Communication is without question the most important skill in life,” says Stephen Covey, the author and motivational trainer. It cements fragile ties, fills in the gaps and recovers the lost sheen in any filial bond. However, is language the only requisite for healthy communication?

My three-month old baby has taught me that language is the least important faculty required to have a tete-a-tete with someone you accept. My baby, for instance, connects with me as no one has ever done. The reason is the bounteous use of the four-letter word in our communication: Love.

The need to love and be loved is universal, isn’t? When we act in love without self-interest, our communication is of the highest possible level.

The late Dr. Haim G. Ginnot, clinical psychologist and parent educator, wrote in his book, Between Parent and Child that the tragedy of wrong communication often lies “not in the lack of caring but in a lack of understanding; not in a lack of intelligence, but in a lack of knowledge…”

Powerless words, fractured relationships

Communication rests on simple principles: understanding, acceptance and love. Sadly, these very basics are lost in the daily vicissitudes of life where mere words make our world. They shape who we are and how we see life. They shape our response to situations, people and form our destiny. The words we use today become the life we live tomorrow. Are words able to penetrate into the soul of people and connect with them?

Our collective understanding of who we are, the values we stand for, the culture that defines us, the civilisation we belong to, is largely a creation of words. The worldview we inherit and that we take to be the truth has been handed down to us from society through words.

Connection based on mere words cloud real feelings; what is meant is not said and what is said is not meant! Sample the complexity and quality of relationships around us these days. A classic case of fractured verbal syndrome exists in each sphere of our lives.

In the world where my baby and I communicate, words have no place. The multitude of expressions which adorn my tiny fledgling’s face, each enunciation conveys the profound intensity and urgency of his needs. The result is much better than words would create. Such is the power his expressions behold, his boundless innocence commands.

For instance, if my baby wishes to be picked up or is in need of a cuddle, he will convey that by flashing a series of expressions on his face. His immediate need will be voiced in a span of a few seconds. However, the urgency of his concern will be proportional to the variability of his myriad expressions.

Whether hunger has knocked his tiny bell out or a wet nappy needs change, crying conveys what words cannot. The skill lies in detecting and differentiating the varied versions of baby cry. Shrieks denote urgency and demands immediate response whereas mere sounds in irregular pattern could be just a request go out and be his playmate.

Body Language, an effective tool

Body language is yet another tool that babies deploy profusely to emote. When my son is excited, he expresses the feeling by moving his legs and hands rapidly. His eyes widen, which are then yoked with cooing sounds such as oooo, aeehhh, mum, awahh... indicating his other needs.

They say when a baby is born, a mother is born too. As a mother one learns to tune in to her child’s frequency. My son has also empowered me to learn this secret language of love; Something which I was also born with as an infant but forgot to use aplenty as I grew up.

Scientific and spiritual connection

The feeling is like that of a magician who can make the baby smile, pacify and comfort his pure soul. The magic wand is that of unconditional love which facilitates interaction at a spiritual level too. It is the intimacy of the two souls that adds depth and connect to each action in nurturing the other.

The efficacy of this fact is scientifically proven, too. Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) has a concept called ‘mirroring’ which holds that in order to create harmony between us and the person we are talking to, we mirror their gestures, expressions and postures.

My son and I mirror each other’s verbal expressions. When I reproduce his coos, mumbled words and expressions, the result is no less than a rendition of some world-class poetry played out by an orchestra. It is truly the infinite interaction with finite vocabulary!

Real communication, a lyrical ballad

Endless gabble defines the space my kid and I cohabit. An interaction where he babbles and I understand. Yes, together we communicate! Aren't these the grounding principles of the real communication model taught in school?

The place where the symphony of feelings play a lyrical ballad castigating powerless words. A world where the tiny one’s creation of meaningless meh meh carry profound resonance that even the litany of a thousand words put together can’t deliver.

If being a woman is a thing of joy then being a mother is pure ecstasy, I feel! As one can bank upon what Unicef describes as ‘social capital’ for building a better world with better understanding.

Need to open new channels

I have learnt that unless communication channels that connect the separate, individual worlds are kept open and functioning to receive each other’s life-giving energies, we are doomed to loneliness, alienation and suffering.

Communication skills are vital for a joyous, successful and healthy life. And yet, let’s face it, we just don’t know how. We are unskilled at this most crucial of tasks. We blunder along, venting, reacting, insisting, dominating, manipulating, blaming, and withdrawing. With little or no awareness, we fail to register the other, or our own inner world, for that matter.

We can only communicate appropriately when we are in control of ourselves. To do this we must free ourselves of our fears and inhibitions, our assumptions and prejudices, our needs and desires, our past history.

chauhan.priyanka01@gmail.com

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 6:56:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/open-page/The-realm-beyond-words.../article14571566.ece

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