"STRONGER TOGETHER" is a weekly column where Tanya explores key issues. This week Tanya discusses making a conscious effort to broaden your lens of society before judging others
By IMPACT Community Services Managing Director Tanya O'Shea
A world of equality, where everybody has enough money and resources to feed themselves and their family, put a roof over their head and have money left over to cover clothes, education, and health expenses, is certainly a desired one; but far from reality.
In Australia 3.3 million people live below the poverty line – almost 14% of our population. While this isn’t an overnight fix, the judgement of people in certain situations can be.
Hearing stories from three incredibly resilient women recently, I noticed while their hardships and situations were different, they all mentioned feeling judged and isolated for deciding to work or not to work based on putting their family/children first.
These women didn’t ask for anyone’s help and they certainly didn’t need anyone’s judgement.
If you’ve read previous columns by me, you’ll remember the dot on the page exercise where you imagine a white page with a dot on it and reflect on what you see.
Did you focus solely on the dot? Did you consider the rest of the page and look at the big picture?
Some people make aspersions about others. They put people under the microscope like the dot; examining its colour, shape, size, position, wondering what’s wrong with it or what could change. We don’t always focus on the bigger picture – all the things going on in the white space. But it’s worth refocusing our view.
Personally, I applaud working mums, however juggling a career and children was easy for me. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by family I can lean for support if needed.
I’ve never been a single mum working four jobs to keep a roof over my children’s heads and food on the table; or stop working because my child required extra support; or eat toast for months to get the roof fixed. I do however know this happens all around us.
I also know that with less judgment and more compassion for the person we’ll stop fixating on the dot and find ways to better support these highly resilient and resourceful people. When we consider the space and people as whole individuals, whose stories have value, we start to connect with some of the real issues that people are experiencing in the world.