Over the pandemic, needing a sense of normalcy, I have sought ways to volunteer, to continue to give back. Teaching for the Alzheimer’s Association has been a blessing. Through their dedication to their clients, they moved all classes to a virtual format, allowing safe attendance and safe volunteering. Through this blessing, I am able to teach, help, volunteer, and support, all helping me maintain my sanity.

Teaching communication has been enlightening. I have had to really stop and think what communication is and how it impacts our daily lives. I have reflected on my communication skills, the times I am misunderstood, and how I could have prevented the miscommunication. Communication is an art, with nuances so subtle, that slight variations can change the entire meaning.

A few weeks ago, an old friend reached out. He shared a video on perspective and how our minds can play tricks on us, how we can see things that really aren’t there. We started talking about body language, tone of voice, and the hidden pieces of communication. Because we fail to remember the power our brains have on us, the ability to trick us, to show us things that really aren’t there, we often misunderstand a conversation. Such misunderstandings have led to fights, separations, and even wars. How often do we allow ourselves to fall into the trap that what we see is real? Did the perceived wrongs really happen? How many endings have happened because of a misperception?

Our brains filter every image we see and all we hear through lenses. These lenses are made up of our ethnicity, our culture, our traumas, our past hurts, our unmet needs, and so much more. What we see and hear are filtered through these lenses, and that filtered information is then interpreted in our brains. We never truly hear what was actually said, we never truly see what is presented. And this my friends, is the source of the majority of our issues, our challenges, our misunderstandings.

The question becomes, how do we force ourselves to truly hear, to truly see? How do we change our perspective, open our minds, and allow our core thoughts and beliefs to be challenged? The strength and endurance it takes to allow ourselves, the inner selves we hide from the world, to be challenged and questioned is more than most of us have. Yet somehow we must find this strength, somehow we must dig deep, and challenge ourselves to change our perspective and learn to truly see and hear.

I love to hear from my readers. You can reach me at believestrengthpassion@gmail.com.

Sara Orellana-Paape lives in Lawton.

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