The Power of the Unspoken Word - Do Your Actions Speak Louder?

Darryl Bachmeier
Aug 12, 2019

Communication is perhaps the most primitive of all human activities there is. And it has been constantly evolving ever since, providing people with more ways to express their feelings or convey their messages.

However, human communication remains subjective and complex – a single word can have 101 meanings and the odds of a misunderstanding to happen between two communicating humans remains high.

The more that our world is becoming interconnected, the more divided we are.

And the more that we gain freedom in expressing our thoughts, feelings, convictions, and aspirations, the more we experience solitude and discrimination.

What has become of human communication?

Understanding communication (and its related behaviors and triggers) is a broad topic to discuss

The Power of the Unspoken Word

Everything is conceived in the mind.

And all the while you thought they remain there until you say it, well, you’re wrong.

Without you realizing it, you might be already starting to communicate your thoughts the moment you have them in your mind.

Have you heard of “body language”?

No, it’s more than just sign language or pantomime or a sensual dance.

Body language is a natural thing for humans. When we are aware, we can control how we deliver a message by adding emotion or by using our bodies to support it. We use gestures to help people understand what we are trying to say.

And there is power in the unspoken word.

In chess, players are asked to refrain from speaking about their next move. This is to keep your opponent from strategizing ahead.

Since playing chess uses an extreme amount of concentration and focus, some players try learning how to interpret their opponent’s actions which may contain important cues for them to win.

Meanwhile, using facial expressions or gestures or even displaying none at all can convey a message without uttering a word. Some chess players can even intimidate their opponents this way.

No matter how big or small an action is, it can amplify what’s in our minds. Just like when we dream, the only time we can achieve it is when we take action.

Is Speaking the Same as Communicating?

Truth be told I was dumbfounded for a moment while I contemplate the question. I actually had this follow-up question in my head.

What is the essence of communication?

As the ways and means of communicating evolved, so as our motives. People are speaking because it is somewhat a natural thing to do. But communicating is another thing.

I think the difference between speaking and communicating is that the former is one-way while the latter is two-way.

Look at this.

Many parents are celebrating that moment when their child spoke his or her first word. As more words add to a child’s vocabulary, can we say that he is also learning communication?

Toddler Adrian wants to eat another chocolate candy after he demolished five pieces. And it’s already bedtime. He already repeated the word “ahm-ahm” a dozen times, just the same as how Mommy Chin answered him “no”.

Over their conversation, after Mommy Chin responded “no” with five different explanations as to why Toddler Adrian remain firm about his asking for that another chocolate candy.

So, you see from there, Toddler Adrian is speaking (wherein Mommy Chin understands what “ahm-ahm” means) while Mommy Chin is communicating by responding to the request and explaining the reason behind it.

Why Do We believe in Actions More than Words?

Our natural inclination is to believe in what we see. And that’s more pronounced in our present actions than in words.

We tend to question the past or the future. But it’s harder to argue about what we are observing in the present.

And that’s because we are seeing and interpreting actions at the same moment as they happen.

Husband Rhyan wakes up earlier than the rest of the household. During the rest of the day, he is always on the lookout for anything he can do. At nighttime, he also sleeps ahead of everyone, even during a family movie night.

He does not want to spend his vacation time this way. But, he loves his wife that he wants to help her in any way by doing all the house chores while she attends to the kids. He thought that’s what she needs because he observes that she can’t even properly take care of herself out of busy-ness.

Meanwhile, wife Jonah is excited whenever husband Rhyan is at home after an overseas deployment. However, there is hardly enough time for them to talk or bond alone because their time is occupied by doing house chores and attending to the kids. This makes her very sad and disappointed about their marriage.

But then she continues to do her best juggling all the chores at the expense of her own welfare so that husband Rhyan can have extra time to be with her.

Husband and wife love each other and wanted things to happen differently. However, by mere observation of each other, they thought of a different message instead. While the husband thought the wife needed help when she needs time with him, the wife thought the husband doesn’t want to be with her when all he wanted is a break.

How to Walk the Talk

Is our belief about “actions speak louder than words” a problem, after all?

Even we don’t want it to be, it becomes one sometimes. Especially if words and actions don’t support each other. If we don’t help the talk with the walk, the walk speaks louder and it risks misinterpretation.

The key is being mindful.

Actions hold so much power just like our words and our thoughts. And among the three, action can achieve results the fastest.

Being mindful about how we take action over the words we speak about helps us build integrity. If we have credibility stuck in our foreheads, our track record will do the speaking.

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