Updated: Dec 13, 2021
For me, language is a communication tool and for many it’s an essential survival skill, especially for global citizens.
Language and communication enable self-expression and a mutual exchange of cultural and emotional experiences. It is about deeper connections, sharing our stories and getting our messages across clearly, to be heard and understood. To me it means more freedom and the choice of living a richer, more expansive and fulfilling way of life.
For instance, having another language can open more doors for us at the workplace. We can be more productive and efficient when we focus more on what to say rather than how to say it. We can have more global opportunities and responsibilities. International meetings can be more fun, engaging, and rewarding. We can get to know our colleagues and their cultures better and co-create an even more successful and enjoyable work environment. And this is especially relevant now with the world going more online. Virtual connections are the norm now and we need strong communication skills more than ever to bridge the distances.
Language helps us experience people, culture, and even our hobbies more deeply. Learning another language helps us access such things as a greater variety of music, films, books, and podcasts. I personally find that there is somehow more emotional and experiential depth when we can appreciate and connect with the original language and culture. We can enjoy better qualities of relationships when we have more awareness, compassion, and appreciation for others. When we travel, we can go up to people and ask for help to simply get by or to get personal tips on how to experience the heart of a culture. When we relocate to a new place, where our mother tongue is not spoken, we can help ourselves feel more independent, connected and less lonely.
Just as with playing a musical instrument, language and communication skills can get a little rusty and they need to be fine-tuned from time to time. There are different levels of competence to master, such as body language skills, inter-personal skills, cross-cultural skills, and language accuracy skills. When we are not immersed in regular practise, however, it can be more challenging to maintain those skills, and we tend to feel discouraged. Over time our fear and shame might start to get the better of us. We start to lose our motivation and self-confidence. We believe that if our competence in another language isn’t perfect, or worse, as perfect as it could or should be, then we shouldn’t speak at all. We begin to limit the richness of our experiences in life.
If we can identify this behaviour, and recognise that we want a certain change, we can think about why it is so important for us to communicate effectively in the first place. What do we want to achieve? And why does it matter so much?
Once we know our reasons why, we can start to focus more on how we can commit and take action as individuals from a heart-aligned place. Because we all have our own unique communication skills in our toolboxes, and we want to honour that.
Can we learn to trust the process and trust ourselves if it’s something that we really want, no matter how long it takes, and give ourselves the permission to cultivate a more empowering and compassionate mindset? A mindset that will enable us to experience life with more freedom, depth, joy, and passion. Can we lower our unrealistic expectations to be less critical, and instead raise our level of self-confidence by being more loving and appreciative of ourselves?