What do you say when you talk to yourself in various situations? How do you communicate “who you are” to others?
This is the third in a series of articles about the 12 Attributes of Human Functioning as proposed by Michael Murphy in his book The Future of the Human Body, and listed in his popular book, The Life We Are Given, which he co-authored with George Leonard. It is about the Attribute of Communication.
Being able to speak and communicate with others necessary to coexist with people. The words you use and how you say them are important. Simply being able to give directions or answer questions, convey a message, or carry on a conversation with others is critical for basic interaction. In fact your ability to communicate with your friends and peers is one of the aspects of longevity mentioned by Dan Buettner, in his book, Blue Zones.
But just as important, if not more so, is the way you answer these two questions. First, how do you communicate with yourself? And, second, How do you communicate yourself to others?
When you “self-talk” or communicate with yourself, do you ask questions like: “Am I too old to do this?” or tell yourself: “I’m don’t know how to do this, so I won’t bother with it.” Or do you challenge yourself with, “I can do that, here’s what I have to do or learn” or do you say, “I may be old, but I can learn that. No problem!” Both the questions you ask yourself and the way you answer yourself, reflect the way you feel about yourself in general. What you think and say to yourself determines the way you experience your life.
The other form of communication is about how you communicate yourself to others. How do others see you? How do they perceive who you are? How you come across to others is communicated by:
Your posture – Your posture is one of the first things people see about you and it affects the way people perceive you. As you age, good posture can become a challenge. But poor posture can be corrected if caught early enough with conscious attention. Your posture reflects not only your physical health, it also reflects your overall attitude toward yourself and your life.
Your facial expressions – your facial expressions reflect your internal energy as well as what and how you are thinking at any given moment. Your facial expression when you speak to another person is often a mirror of your internal personal energy as well as communicating your belief in what you’re saying.
Your vocal tonality – this is far more important than most people think. The way you use your voice expresses your inner feelings more than anything you do or say. If you come across with a vital, strong voice, people are likely to perceive your strength and conviction. If you whine, simper, or speak in a monotone, you convey a message of weakness, and often boredom.
Your overall enthusiasm expresses the personal energy you feel within, and communicates that energy to others around you. Enthusiasm is derived from the Greek En Theos and means “The Spirit (or the Divinity) within”.
In fact all of the above are expressions of your personal energy and your personal convictions, and communicate “you” to others every bit as much, if not more, than the actual words you use.
As Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News, and former political consultant says: “You are the Message”. Do the messages you convey to yourself and to others, reflect a Celebration of Life, or are you perceived as a constant complainer. Do you have a Positive or a Negative Outlook toward the future? Are you an energizer, or do you drain your own energy or the energy of others by your self-communication and attitude.
Charles Fillmore, the co-founder of the Unity Church was reported as saying as he got out of bed one morning at age 94, “I fairly sizzle with zeal and enthusiasm, and I spring forth with a mighty faith to do the things that ought to be done by me.” That’s pretty strong self-talk for someone just getting out of bed. Eric Butterworth, a Unity minister who wrote a great deal about Charles Fillmore said that “this spirit was reflected in his (Fillmore’s) life, where he was too busy and too excited about growing onward to grow old.”
Thank you for reading.