What’s your first language? English? Spanish? French? Sign language? Other? In this context, my first language is English. I actually have another “first language,” though, that’s embedded in my wiring and is impacting my everyday experience. Guess what — you do, too.

We all speak other languages. For example, we speak a nonverbal language. Our human survival and experience depend on being able to interpret the meaning of facial expressions and tone of voice. While our physical gestures may have different meanings depending on our culture, most of us know a happy expression as opposed to a sad expression. This is important when understanding and communicating meaning. We can convey immensely different meaning with our facial expressions and tone of voice. Take sarcasm, for example. We all know that when someone is using sarcasm, their words do not represent what they really mean!

Recently, I started to realize I speak another language, as well. As a result of the Positive Intelligence work I’ve been doing for the past year, I noticed I resonate more with heart-oriented language than mentally oriented language. I wasn’t quite sure why I felt disconnected at times when I encountered people who primarily spoke with more of a mentally oriented language. I knew I was wired to be more “right brained” than left, but that didn’t give me the insight I needed. It wasn’t until I understood that it was the actual words they were using that created the challenge.

Here’s the difference: I might ask someone how they’re feeling, instead of what they’re thinking. I might listen more for their emotional or heart-oriented expressions than their data-oriented expressions. I might focus on words that are more inspirational than informational.

While we are all multi-faceted individuals, we gravitate to one language over another. With this awareness, I can now stretch and adapt to connect more fluidly with those who have different wiring than me. It’s not a foreign language – I know the words. It’s just not my first language – my preferred language. Now I have choice and a new level of comfort using this second language.

Considering this, what is your first language? Are you wired to speak more from the heart or more from the head? Both are important. Knowing your preference is your first step. Gaining the capability to translate that awareness into your everyday communication is what will make the difference in your experience.

Many of our challenges with others come from a lack of understanding and empathy for our communication and wiring differences. Gaining greater insight and the ability to successfully engage these differences supports us to participate in fulfilling relationships and meet our goals, whether we are speaking, leading or creating new possibilities!

There’s an old saying: “When in Rome, do as the Romans.” When you’re in unfamiliar territory, learn the language of those you want to reach. You will have more freedom and flexibility, putting you in a much healthier position. I would love to support you to explore how you can increase your self-awareness and skills! Please contact me at Andrea@AndreaBeaulieu.com Andrea@AndreaBeaulieu.com.