Being a woman sculptor I have found myself working in various industries that were very male-dominated, such as foundries and metal shops. This was quite challenging, as I was brought up against many prejudices. I had to fight very hard to get an opportunity to work in many of these places, and when I got there I felt like I had to become three times as good in order even to be taken as an equal.
These were powerful experiences from which I learned a lot. I also picked up many prejudices. I got so used to seeing prejudice of sorts that I began to simply expect it. With these expectations, I brought my bag of tricks (defensive behaviors) to deal with the prejudice. I was always feeling that I had to prove myself, even when I became quite proficient in my skills and had much experience. It seemed like I was encountering prejudice everywhere.
One day, sometime after I started working with the teachings, I started to question my perception: "Is all this prejudice really out there? Or am I responsible for much of it simply because of my expectations?"
By this time I had come to realize that much of my "defensiveness" and "my need to prove myself to others" behaviors were caused by my own feelings of inferiority. So I decided to try an experiment. I looked carefully at what I had accomplished and what I was capable of doing. Having done this, I understood and felt for the first time in my life that I really do not have to justify or prove to anyone my own worth.
With this new-found confidence I went about my business and every time I walked into a situation in which I would usually expect prejudice I simply chose not to project this type of expectation. What I found as a result of this was astonishing to me. Not only did most of the prejudice that I was experiencing before simply disappear, but people started to approach me asking me for advice and even to teach them. Many of these people were exactly "the type" that I had previously expected to discriminate against me!! Talk about PREJUDICE!! Did somebody say something about MIRRORS!! LAMOF