So, I was traveling through the airport the other day and saw a woman at the departure gate, breast out, feeding her infant. Now, I know that the debate on whether breastfeeding in public is normal or inappropriate is not new, but as I’m not a mother yet and hadn’t actually seen what it looks like in person, I really hadn’t given it much thought or come to a conclusion about how I feel about it. Admittedly, the very first thought that popped in my head when I did see it with my own eyes was, “that’s weird”. If I didn’t know what I know now, I probably would have moved to where I could no longer see what, at first glance, made me feel uncomfortable.
Lucky for me, I have learned not to run with the first thought that comes to mind. I am very aware that since birth, I have been exposed to unfair ideas of how women should be and influenced by ignorant people and an often unjust society. As a child, I couldn’t control what my brain was being fed, but as an adult I choose to dissect the thoughts in my head to determine if they are right and really in alignment with the woman I am working to become.
I have discovered that there are 2 specific times when I must fact check my thoughts:
1. Before passing judgement on others. I never want to be the kind of woman who unfairly judges and crucifies other women. After taking just a few minutes to determine whether I really thought that woman breastfeeding her baby in the airport terminal was weird or if that was just something I had been incorrectly influenced to think and feel, I came to the conclusion that I was actually weird to think that something so natural as a mother using the tools God gave her to care for her child was weird. The truth is that there was nothing wrong with what she was doing and no one was being hurt because of it. In fact, I was actually proud of her for being empowered enough to do what she instinctively felt was right for her and her child. Girl power!
2. When I doubt myself. The mind is a tricky place. No matter how empowered and confident you are, you are still subject to having thoughts of doubt creep up and shut you down. There have been times when I allowed one doubtful thought grow until it crippled me from moving forward and doing what I knew deep down I was capable of doing. Now that I know better, I don’t allow thoughts of doubt to linger before determining if they can be eliminated by fact checking. I ask myself if my thoughts really align with who I am and have already proven myself to be? By doing so, in every instance, thoughts of “I can’t” have changed to thoughts of “I will.”
As you go through life, you will be exposed to many thoughts and ideas. Sometimes those thoughts and ideas can be so strongly impressed upon you that you begin to believe them and they become part of who you are. Being empowered is being self-aware and having self-control. Although you can’t always control what thoughts come to your mind, you can always choose to adjust them or erase them. You can choose if your thoughts become words or actions. You can choose if and how your thoughts affect other people. Before you allow a thought to become a thing, I encourage you to fact check it. Take what you think seriously as your thoughts have the power to manifest things into your life, influence the people around you, and impact future generations. Just imagine how much different the world would be if all racists and misogynists thought like this.