Sunday, June 20, 2010

Word Wonder -- communicate

Sunday, June 20, 2010

1. To cause another or others to partake of or share in; impart.  3. To convey knowledge of; tell.  5. To transmit or exchange thought or knowledge.  6. To be connected.  [from the Latin communicatus and communicare, meaning "to share" which, in turn, comes from communis, meaning "common, public, general."] -- Funk & Wagnall's Canadian College Dictionary and Dictionary of the English Language - an Encyclopedic Reference

Although "communicate" and its derivatives are ordinary words, I decided to check them out anyway, since communication is such a fundamental part of human existence. Their ancient Indo-European sources are the roots mei-, which means "to change, go, move" and ko-, meaning "together." Now, I am most definitely not a linguistic scholar, but I do enjoy learning and "feeling" and supposing about the paths our words take as they form and change.

So when I learned that communicate and its cousins come from ancient words that mean "change, move, and together," I explored in my heart and mind and gut for connections and threads of meaning and intention. In addition, the fact that "communicate" comes from the word "common" reminds me of the normal, everyday interchanges among people (and other beings) that can work for our common good.

When two or more beings communicate, a relationship, however brief, is shown to exist. One expresses, while another receives. Both/All parties feel emotions, think thoughts, choose actions. We communicate with our thoughts, hands, spirit, words, computers, hearts, ears, eyes, gestures, posture, pen and paper, hands, actions, tears, smiles, scowls, voices, choices, feet, and creations.

Communication brings change, as it connects us to one another. When we impart to another what we think, feel, or want, we are changing the relationship, no matter what the listener's response is. Communication can be risky. It can bring healing. It can help people move forward together.

Communication can, of course, also be used with the opposite intention, that of disrupting connections and causing separation, distrust, and harm. We all experience times when we talk to someone who is not actually listening or paying attention to what were conveying. We've all witnessed or been part of exchanges that were intended to hurt or cause damage.

What do you communicate to others about yourself?  Do you tend to clear the air or muddy the waters? Do you see communication as a way to get your ideas across or as a way to build relationships, contribute to understanding, encourage growth? How do you get your ideas across -- with anger or with calm? How fully do you listen when others speak to you.

Maybe today you'll consider your listening and expressing in a new light. Every single one of us can improve in this crucial part of life. Researching and writing about this topic opens me to being more mindful in my communication. How about you?

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