How different would your life be, if you weren’t afraid of being judged?
What would you do right now if you had no fear of judgement?
Would you up sticks and move your whole family overseas? Change careers? Quit your job and work for yourself?
Or are you one of the brave, courageous few that take whatever opportunities come your way regardless of what others might think of you? If that’s you – hear hear! Tell me about it in the comments as I do love hearing stories of courage and bravery. Pushing past fear of judgement is a massive personal development leap.
We all judge
Judging others actions helps us to make sense of the world based on our own values, beliefs and experiences.
At it’s worst, judgement presents itself in a hateful way: bigotry, racism, mummy-wars.
At it’s best, we just make assumptions about people’s ability to make sound decisions without truly understanding their back story.
Is there any surprise you have dear of judgement?
When was the last time you judged someone?
It’s a very human thing to do, but we do it to a varying degree based on how we see the world.
But here’s a couple of things about judgemental people
They lack empathy
When passing judgement, we tend to think about how we ourselves would have responded to a given situation based on our own knowledge of that person’s life and our own experiences. We are all so unique with millions and millions of experiences of our own which helps to form our own world view. How could we possibly, truly understand the decisions that others make? However if you can empathise, you can step out of your own shoes and into theirs for a moment, and understand how or why they might have acted in the way that they did.
They lack a breadth of world experience
For whatever reason, they have had limited experiences with different cultures, races, classes etc., so they naturally have less world experience to draw on. So if all there is to draw on is what the media says – lord help us.
They don’t question their own beliefs
There are few enlightened enough to do this because it’s actually a really difficult exercise to do – to figure out why you actually believe something. I’ll unpack that in a whole ‘nother post! But if you ‘believe’ that [insert belief here] and it’s because your mum told you this when you were 15 years old and you never questioned it – do you actually believe it to be true or have you assumed someone else’s belief (and is their belief true or assumed)? Seriously, some questioning needs to happen sometime.
They seek to prove their own choices are right, by proving others are wrong
And this is their insecurities speaking. That’s right, you are being judged by another person’s insecurities.
You can’t avoid being judged
So given it’s just part of the human condition – to judge – it’s probably quite clear that you’ll never be able to avoid being judged, and you certainly have zero control over the degree of judging because of the complex beings we are.
Oh wait there is one way to avoid it – which reminds me of the following quote:
Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.
But how would you feel about yourself? If you lived a mediocre life with unfulfilled dreams – just to avoid being judged?
Is being judged that bad?
But what’s the worst thing that can happen when you are judged?
Let’s pull that apart.
Think about doing something that scares you.
Who comes up? Which person specifically do you see judging your ideas, your actions, or your behaviour? Or are there a few key players?
I found that whenever I thought about doing something that people might talk about, the same people came up, staring down at me intimidatingly, judging me harshly.
And what I found was, that these people had criticised me openly in the past, and I still had some unresolved feelings about that. They had either commented negatively on my ideas or actions, questioned them over-critically, or dismissed them in some way. I was feeling burned by these people, and because I hadn’t dealt with it, they popped up every time I was about to do something that people might notice and talk about.
Facing the judge
Let’s call out one of these judges – let’s call her… Scarlett (because she appears a little devilish when she’s judging me).
When I made the decision to start blogging about personal growth and development, Scarlett was there, and hoooo did she have opinions on it :
She said things like:
- “Photography didn’t work out for ya huh?”
- “Blogging, what exactly is that anyway?”
- “What are you doing now? I can’t keep up…”
- “I thought you were an Agile coach?”
So let’ be clear, that was me imagining what Scarlett might say when she finds out my plans.
But it actually wasn’t Scarlett at all – it was my insecurities talking. Scarlett just represented them as her past comments had triggered my insecurities previously.
What do your insecurities say?
What this really boils down to is that your subconscious has questions for you that you may need to resolve within yourself before acting.
How I do this is I turn Scarlett’s comments into questions:
- Do you feel proud of your photography portfolio?
- What is the purpose of your blogging?
- Why are you blogging now?
- How does this fit with your career? Does it have to?
When your subconscious talks, try listening
By turning Scarlett’s judgements into questions she became a friend and an ally – there to help me make sound decisions. My fear of judgement became a factor in my success.
If you can turn your judges around, the huge bonus is that you are in fact more prepared for people who do judge you openly. You’ve already answered the questions their comments might represent.
Is it time to take a fresh perspective on your fear of judgement?
Think about the last time you didn’t act because you were scared of judgement, then turn your judges’ comments into questions – what happens when you do this? Just like you became better friends with your shadow, you now have a second unlikely friend in your subconscious judge.
As always I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments – can you relate to this yourself?
Be fearless, be free. Don’t let fear of judgement hold you back from your dreams!