On the Facebook page for The Awakenings Project, I often ask my participants if they have any questions or topics they’d like me to speak to. I get some really great topics and incredibly insightful questions. Some of the questions are topics that I would expect with this type of project.
“What is your inspiration?”
“How do you know which photo to pick?”
“What is your process during a session?”
Occasionally, I will get a topic or question so profound, it will take me several days to determine how I can even begin to answer. I recently had one that threw me for several loops.
“How do you personally deal with being judged?”
Now, there are several ways I can look at this. Beyond several, if we’re being honest. Judgement happens all the time, right? We ALL do it! We judge the man on the corner, asking for change. We judge the overweight women eating fast food. We judge our coworkers, our friends, and our family members for their decisions, because don’t you know, WE certainly wouldn’t make those same decisions. WE ALL DO IT.
As I’ve really come to explore myself and who I am, one thing I need to say is that I am in place where I am trying to recognize my own judgments. I have a thought enter my head, and I have to recognize it immediately and rethink it. One thought that commonly enters my brain as I catch myself making a snap judgement: “You don’t know their story.” Recognition of our own snap judgments goes a long way towards living a more limitless life.
I do get messages from time to time judging my photography, and my content, and to be quite frank, I think with this type of work, that is to be expected. Ultimately, you can’t please everyone 100% of the time. But when working with a purpose like what is behind this project, some individuals truly question me. And that’s OK! I’m more than happy to answer questions, and explain the “why” behind this work. What I am not okay with is someone creeping into my inbox to tell me that women belong in the kitchen and that this type of work is wrong and giving women the wrong idea. THAT is 100% judgement.
So how do I deal with that? I could get defensive. I could spout profanity, (and I am very good at that, mind you). I could block immediately. Or, my preferred method, is to simply ask why they feel that way. Sometimes, I get a great conversation and an opportunity to teach a bit of history. Sometimes, the conversation ends up in middle ground where maybe we BOTH learn something. And sometimes, I’ll get a person that will simply just insist that I am a terrible woman for encouraging other women to be empowered.
No matter what the outcome, I take the chance that maybe I’ll learn something, and I’ll try to stand in their shoes and neutralize my own snap judgments.
Maybe I’ll learn something. Maybe I won’t. Either way, I know I at least tried.