Communication has never been a concept which I considered important until now, it has always been a part of my life yet I never really truly considered its effect on me. As of now, it seems that I keep thinking about communication and its great impact on my life, from the moment I wake up to when I go to sleep communication is constantly present. It seems that I am more aware of my rules and I have adapted my communication habits, and although analyzing myself is a little scary, it is a necessary step to become a better communicator in the community.
“Self-identity is the person we think we are as expressed and regulated by actual or imagined interaction with others” (Strom & Agodzo, 2018, pg. 90). Generally speaking, I am an introvert, I rarely like to share my thoughts, I rely a lot on my nonverbals, a form of communication which ‘includes all the non-linguistic things a person does to which others ascribe meaning’ whether intended or not (Strom & Agodzo, 2018, pg. 62), in order to communicate how I truly feel or I simply don’t show any emotion at all. My introverted attributes are mostly portrayed in public settings, I use my facial expressions to communicate how I feel, when my face is neutral, I am seen as unapproachable, I tend to display an unintended grimace by nature.
Listening is one of my strong suits, I love listening to others’ problems and giving them the advice or support they need although I didn’t really like talking about myself. “The linear model/bowling model of communication is when a person is dominating a conversation with no feedback in return” (Strom Lecture, 6). Although this contrast to my bowler like tendencies when I am dumping all my deepest thoughts and emotions unto my siblings.
“Personal space acts like a bubble that we claim as our own whenever we might be” (Strom & Agodzo, 2018, pg. 73). I value personal space a lot, I love having a designated seat everywhere, I don’t enjoy when strangers crowd my space and I do so by not standing too close to people though with a close friend and family this view changes. Having a personal bubble helps relieve me of the stress that I might have while communicating with others like bad breath or body odor. In the past, I had developed an absolute no contact rule with everyone including those in my family until I realized that I love the occasional comfort of hugs.
“People use language to define and describe reality every day, but the line between its use and the truth is not always straight or clear-cut” (Strom & Agodzo, 2018, pg. 37). My way of communicating can seem judgmental at times unintentionally which I find odd because I am an open-minded person. The other day, while in conversation with a friend I spoke a certain way which made her feel as though I am judging her, although, this was not a thought that had crossed my mind while speaking to her. I may have not worded then words the way I wanted to which caused confusion and maybe a bit of shame which is something I try to avoid doing while speaking to someone. This is a clear example of miscommunication. My nonverbals may have been speaking one thing, but my verbals another, I believe maybe my tone as well may have been part of the problem. I didn’t actually mean to harm her character or bring shame to her.
“Our bias is to favor people who speak with lower pitches, average to above-average volume, moderate to quick rate, and rich quality. Too high pitch equates with youthful inexperience” (Strom & Agodzo, 2018, pg. 67). In my family, us kids have developed a slight problem where we speak to the elders in a higher-pitch, it has somehow transcended into our grown-up life and it makes me feel as though I am unable to speak respectfully unless it’s in a higher pitch. This may also have to do with the fact that I didn’t have them around for a portion of my life as they were missioning in Haiti while I was going to school in Alberta, I felt slightly distant from them and associate that tone with distant. I believe that this is just our way of seeming innocent at all times even now as adults, to not get into trouble even though we haven’t done anything as we would speak in higher tones when we received discipline from our parents.
“In one-on-one settings, we tend to give people ample eye contact along with occasional glance away so as not to creep them out” (Strom & Agodzo, 2018, pg. 67). I try to avoid making eye contact for too long, and I feel uncomfortable if I am looking into a person’s eyes for too long without words being spoken. Eye contact though I wish to avoid it I try to glance away while speaking in a conversation with someone though sometimes I tend to zone-out in certain instances which makes them feel as though I am not listening, though they have not told me this I can tell by their nonverbals that they want my full attention. A while ago while meeting with my advisor I believe I kept the typical amount of eye contact glancing away here and there but at certain points we would sit in silence, staring at each other because she answered all my questions or she didn’t have answers to some so were both put in an uncomfortable situation.
Moving to Canada and studying communication is my first step in becoming a better communicator. If I wish to pursue any career, I should have some level of communication experience. By applying the concepts I’ve learned from my professor’s lecture and textbook I am able to identify what areas I need to improve. Before I started studying at Trinity, my knowledge of communication was very limited, I knew communicating was one’s way of speaking but I hadn’t even considered how much communication influences my daily life. Minding my language and keeping track of my communication skills helps expand my communication levels. Analyzing closely the way in which I communicate helps me know to understand what I am doing correctly and what I should be fixing. In applying concepts like non-verbal communication to my life I can closely highlight what cues I should be using while I am speaking or how to better convey my point. For example, the situation with my friend who feels that I am judging her when in reality I am just stating my unbiased opinions, I can try to apply the non-verbal skills I’ve learned in order to better convey my message or in the linguistic aspect I can use better language to clearly express my thoughts. By observing how people around me respond to my communication I am able to use that as feedback to become a better communicator. When I received a reaction from my friend telling me that I made her feel like I was judging her I thought back to our interaction together, what facial expression she used, her tone, the words she used and from what I recall my friend was very defensive. If I had paid closer attention to the sign, I may have been able to make the connection that I had communicated my idea properly which would save us from the negative emotion that came with my words.
The Bible has some strong insight when it comes to communication and as a Christian, I am able to use the bible as an outlet towards better communication. Being a communicator is also being able to interact with others accordingly, by relating God’s words on communication to my life I am able to communicate better physically and spiritually. As the textbook mentions God values community, he wants us to be a part of his church and we do so by communicating. God made us so that we could live in community with one another, if I were to resort back to the way I was years ago, by isolating myself mentally from people then I am unable to live with any sense union. Not only does God want us to build a community with each other but also with Him. I can improve who I am by using my tongue for good, the media tends to portray that words are weightless, as the textbook said, but words can be used to build and destroy it is up to me to decide which one would like to live by. God puts a lot of emphasis on the words, in which we as a community use because he knows the weight of words as he created the universe from it, I can consider the situation with my friend and apply the written words of God to the situation in order to know what would be the best way to communicate my opinions.
My parents have always played a major part in my life and whether I like it or not they influenced me a lot. As a child my communication with mom and dad was very strong, I didn’t have to force anything I felt like I could tell them everything but somewhere along the way as I grew older the spark that was once there faded. It started with not seeing them as often, they traveled frequently and at certain points, I could no longer go on trips with them as frequently as before, I went away for the summer, and there were two big moves. There was a lot of static in our communication which hadn’t come to my attention until later in life. Growing up my family consisted of nine members parents, four older siblings, and two younger ones; there was a time where it was only seven of us in the family, and during that time I was greatly disliked by my four-older-siblings. As I’ve previously mentioned, in my youth I had a close bond with my parents and this strained my relationship with older siblings. If I person wronged me or I got hurt I would run to mom and dad this did not sit well with my siblings as they were at the other end of punishment for these instances. I was a miracle baby, I was almost lost at birth, so my parents gave me more positive attention than did to them. With my parents projecting their anger out on them when anything happened to me, I became a target for resentment and they felt really strong negative emotions towards me. Although, when my communication with my parents started to become more detach my siblings got closer to me and accepted me because I was no longer a tattle-tale with that my parents no longer projected anger towards them. My communication with my siblings is great but I feel that I don’t project my true voice and feelings when I am with other people than when I am alone. Family is an important part of my life and I would love to be able to communicate with them better while using steadfast love as its driving force.
Friendships have played a big part in my life up until now, I was fortunate enough to make at least a friend everywhere I lived. In my older friendships, I felt used, they got what they wanted from me but stuck with me for the thrill. At the time I was naive and did not understand the true meaning of friendship and how to find a truly faithful friend. I am no longer friends with those people though I still feel that my kindness is taken advantage of I have not lost my voice in the friendships I’ve developed until recently. I wish to develop a voice in all my friendships while expressing my genuine thoughts and emotions.
Entering into a school with many instructors I am able to grow as a speaker and a student. By learning how to speak to my instructors and advisors while knowing when to ask for help is a great skill to develop as a communicator. In learning how to speak to my instructors I can also be learning how to speak professionally when I am going for a job interview or somebody who is high in society. I can also improve my speaking skills with those who I meet on the street. I wish to develop my communication skills so that I may be my true self at all times and not feel the need to add a mask with people who I initially meet. I want to develop better communication skills in faith and in truth. God is the reason that I am living today and I want to better communicate with him. I want to be confident in my communication with God and I want to communicate with him better from the innermost being of who I am today.