Connecting at the Junction
This morning when I was walking Mollie (my furkid), a small group of people walked by on their way to their daily destination. I knew who they were by the sounds they made so I turned towards them, smiled and waved “good morning,” to which the one young lady waved in return.
After our brief interchange I began thinking about communication and how our disabilities can play a pivotal role in how we connect with one another. It also occurred to me that I probably never would have given this aspect of communication another thought had I not lost my vision however I am grateful for this bit of enlightenment.
If you’re introverted you understand how uncomfortable social situations can be when you meet new people. I can tell you from first-hand experience there have been times I literally would have preferred the floor to open and swallow me whole as opposed to putting myself out there – it’s a downright scary predicament.
Body language and eye contact speaks so loudly but when you can’t see it becomes a whisper at best, and mute in the worst case scenario. The same could also be said of audibly communicating without sign language or speaking directly to a person who is deaf, blind, nonverbal or a combination of these three.
Lost in the translation
I’ve always been fascinated with the complexity of communication and how people understand one another. When we all speak the same language and share common characteristics, for example culture, the odds of our understanding what we are communicating greatly increases.
However when we encounter a person who doesn’t speak our language what do we typically do in an attempt to get our point across? Out of habit I do this even when I’m talking with my friends and that is, pantomiming or gesturing wildly. But what about the person in this same situation who has no arms? Just something to think about.
Communication in the digital age has significantly increased the likelihood of being misunderstood not only because of the oodles of acronyms on all social platforms, but even the way we look, speak or write can have a major impact on what we are trying to convey. Just turn on the TV or look on the web and there are many instances of someone saying something that was intended to mean something else entirely.
The Method of Delivery
Intention is at the heart of communication. What is the objective you hope to achieve?
I began this post by talking about the group of what I think are young people (this is just a guess because I can’t see them) who happen to be deaf/mute. Though I do not know sign language, the universal gesture of hello, a simple wave of the hand along with a friendly smile, is my way of saying “hi, how are you, have a great day.” When I get a reciprocal response I’m assured that my message was received and understood.
When I’m getting ready to go to an event or just a simple outing I take great care in how I’m going to present myself. I do this for two reasons: 1) I need to feel good about how I look and 2) I want to project an “I care” attitude to others.
Why should I care what other people think of how I look? Because how I dress is partly a reflection of how I feel about people.
Being unkempt would certainly be an indication that I don’t care about myself but it also says that I don’t have much respect for those around me. When I used to take public transportation and would see regulars getting on the bus to go to work looking a hot mess, I got irritated.
Though there is a segment of the population who really don’t care how they portray themselves, for the rest of us, people do notice. Now I’m not suggesting that you break out the Sunday’s Best, rather I am proposing putting a little thought into the message you want to transmit through your appearance.
In the pictures included with today’s post I’m communicating my *Ahem* vitality (admittedly I am not a colorful person but I have my moments) by wearing a vivid orange top with white capris and orange slingbacks. I topped the look with my white Nike ball cap and a few accessories then I was good to hang out with one of my gal pals on a recent Saturday afternoon.
The sheer, lined, crepe top is almost halter-like with braided straps and button keyhole closure at the back of the neck. Since the top is flowy I opted to wear it untucked over the rhinestone-embellished (at the outer hem) capris.
The toe of my slingbacks is orange, accented by thin purple straps. I also wore a black and silver pendent necklace, silver cuff bracelet and silver drop earrings.
Bright colors and whites immediately lift my spirits and make me feel more energetic. If you want to get noticed or lighten your mood, just add a pop of color, be it a top, bottoms, dress, shoes, or accessories.
So what are you communicating today? You can respond by leaving a comment or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a fabulous weekend!!
“I nod to a passing stranger, and the stranger nods back, and two human beings go off, feeling a little less anonymous.” ~Robert Brault,