Thursday, September 24, 2009

Communication: a process of feeling

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It is not unusual to hear a group of students complain about a teacher they have in a particular subject not understanding her students. Nor is it seldom too that teachers complain about their student not understanding them. So as long as we have schools and education, this two way problem will always be with us. And if we look closer at this problem, we can see that it boils down to COMMUNICATION- to be exact a failure to communicate.

But you may say "communication is a simple process. I say something and another person listens and answers back." No matter how simple it may seem to many of us, it is complicated process in its entirety.

We always think of this question.. What must we do in order that we become a good listeners? The answers lies in our ability to develop our awareness of feelings. It requires a lot of sensitivity to one's self and others. This does not mean we must drown ourselves in emotions and emotional problems. It simply means that we should accept emotions as a part of us, as a part of our life.

Up to this point we have emphasized the feeling part of the message because it is usually ignored. We should not dismiss the fact that we must pay attention to the content of the message as well. As distinct individuals, we have differences that affect our perceptions of everything in our environment. We are people, not machines. It is being human that makes us different from one another rather than being identical robots. Everything that is fed into our five senses is filtered through our perceptive process. What makes us different, distinct and human are our perceptions.

We are different because of our cultural heritage. Some race may perceive what they see or hear in a different way than we Filipinos would. We are also different because of our values. What may be said may be taken in a different context some value certain things more than others do, some carry positive values, some negative ones.

Our life experiences also makes us different from one another. The way we were raised, the social and physical environments in which we grow, our personalities, our ambitions and goals- all these add up to the varieties of our experiences in life. We all different concepts of our selves. Our self image, feeling of worth and esteem contribute to the way we give and receive messages. What our self-concepts are and the value we attach to them will determine, in part, our communication.

The vital ingredients in our communication recipe, which we all should remember is what we do not hear the real communication from others. We should keep in mind that we are human and that our perceptive process tends to get in the way of messages being received.

If we really want to communicate we must therefore consider what the other person's feeling are. We must learn that empathy is a must for all of us to "listen" well. To do this may not be easy but the rewards for the effort done may lessen or eliminate the problems of communications failure. The price we have to pay if we do not use communication tools for effective listening may be too costly.

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