Instead of judging, we need to listen

With the way the field changes, you will find you change as well. Beliefs change, people change and the way you think changes. I found the biggest change within myself has been to not judge people on their experiences or beliefs, but listening to them and allowing everyone to have a voice regardless of what I 'believe'. We need to be kind and respectful to each other. Your fellow investigators can help you in many ways.
Sarah Chumacero
6th July 2018.
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General.
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I have certainly been on quite the journey in the few years I have been investigating and researching the paranormal. My belief system has changed several times and I have had to question and challenge everything I knew and believed in. It can be confronting and difficult at times, but it is important to ask yourself these questions and I think it helps us grow mentally and maybe even spirtually as well. Quite a lot has changed since I started investigating the paranormal in so many ways. The field itself doesn’t even look the same as it did a year ago let alone 5 years ago, my belief system has changed more than once, I have investigated as a part of groups and now I am solo, people have come and gone, equipment has changed and evolved and just in general, things change. There is one important change that I have made however which I wanted to share.

It is how I view other people. Admittedly I was the judgemental person early on. If people didn’t agree with how I viewed things, I put my judgement hat on and I judged them. Not verbally because I would never do that, but within myself, I judged them a bit. As a paranormal investigator that supposedly had an open mind, I was very close minded when it came to other people and their experiences. I did a lot of soul searching, particularly over the last 12 months and that is not the person that I want to be.

I was very private and closed off and I realised in order to do what I do on such a public level, I can’t necessarily be private. I opened up myself to conversations and friendships I wouldn’t have normally considered. I stopped allowing myself to be influenced by 'who was popular to talk to and who to avoid'. I started doing interviews (which for years I had hidden from) and started talking to people about subjects that were out of my comfort zone or that I would normally stay away from. There was something that I learnt very quickly. Regardless of if I believe this person had a paranormal experience, they believe that they did and I have to respect that – not judge them. If they believe in something that I don’t, I have to respect their belief, and not judge them.

I have been told that the way I present my views can be confrontational and straight to the point. That in itself is not an approach everyone likes and I get it, but that is how I am. I have dabbled years ago in ‘click bait’ articles that focus on paranormal gossip and I got a lot of hits from it. I deleted all of those articles months ago because that is not who I want to be. I don’t want to be a gossip column. I want to be a paranormal researcher. I want my research and thoughts to speak for itself.

I want to emphasise that I am NOT a paranormal expert, nor do I classify myself as one. I actually don’t believe there are experts in the paranormal. It is such a broad field that no one can possibly be an ‘expert’. Sure a person can ‘specialise’ in an area of research and some people have more experience than others, but none of us know anything for sure. All we can do is present what we know from our research. Han Holzer said “Beliefs and disbeliefs are emotional in nature, not rational.”. This phrase has really opened my eyes and helps with the message that I present.

One of the things I am most proud of is the ‘Stuff Paranormal Investigators Need to Know’ series. It is where I present alternatives to paranormal activity – most of it is focused on the brain. It is not me saying ‘you are crazy it is all in your head’. It is me saying this is one of the things it could be. It is up to you as a person to decide. I can’t judge a personal experience because it did not happen to me. It happened to you. I ask you to look at it from a rational perspective and not your beliefs. In that sense, my ‘job’ is done!

I love researching the paranormal. Like many of you, I dedicate hours every day in some way working on my research. It could be as simple as a discussion with a fellow investigator, to reading or even writing a blog. What is important though is your fellow investigators. So many times it is these conversation that have given me the inspiration to research something further or given me an idea for an article. Take the time to listen to your peers. While you may not believe the same things and most certainly not agree on everything, everyone deserves to be heard and to express their opinion. You choose the path you want to take and who you want to take it with. I am not suggesting that everyone should get along because that and the whole concept of 'paraunity' while nice is just not real life. There is always going to be someone that no matter how hard you try, you just don't get a long or you can't find that middle ground. There may be that one person that you try to offer your opinion and they shut you down because they are 'right'. There may be that person that you just can't agree with what they do or how they do it. That is just how the world works and we have to pick our battles. We can't all get along, but we can be nice to each other.

Be nice and respectful to your fellow investigator. They too are here for the same reasons as you. There is no need to be jealous or in competition, in fact you can gain a lot more with collaboration than with isolation. Enjoy yourself and remember this is a 'hobby'. We don't have to take ourselves so seriously all the time. If the day comes and you don't love it anymore, don't take this out on your fellow investigators that want to be here. You do you! For myself, I just want to do my blog and research the paranormal. I love being able to do this at Black Rock House and I love meeting people each week. I love people reaching out to me and telling me their stories and asking for my opinion. It is not about judgement, it is about letting people have a voice and their story to be told.

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