Do you fear being judged?

June 11th 2021

Here are two simple steps to help you stop fearing the judgement of others.

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There are very few people I have come across that can answer “No” to that question above.  And the irony is…..we are all being judged!

Judging others is part of our safety mechanism – that radar being triggered if we perceive that judgement could harm our emotional or physical safety.  But the radar often becomes over-sensitive and this can become a huge source of anxiety.

Here are two things that can help re-calibrate that radar:

1. Does their opinion matter?

People’s judgements are made based on their own experiences and values.  Just think politics and how that can create a multitude of different opinions on the same thing based around THEIR values, experiences etc. The same is also true of people’s judgements of you – their judgements are representative of THEM.

So let’s change the word ‘judgement’ to opinion – as it is personal representation.

And the question then becomes, “Whose opinions are important to you?”

You can start by writing down a list of those people whose opinions are important to you. This may be friends, family etc.  And the next step from there is – everyone not on the list is not important therefore, neither is their opinion!

Or you can just jump in and make the decision as to whether you wish to listen to an opinion or not, as that is all a judgement is – an opinion that you can agree with or disagree with.

The key to this is that you are now in control – in control of which judgements you take on board and which you don’t.  And when you are in control, you are much less vulnerable = less anxiety.

2. Stop trying to control others - the tennis match approach

Imagine a tennis match.  You can control your shot; how you hit it, how you place it etc.  And as soon as it has left your racket, you have lost control and then have to wait until the ball comes back over the net to make your next decision.

When we worry about other people’s judgements, we are effectively trying to play the ball on both sides of the net – it’s impossible!

We can only be in control of what we do with the ball and if you want to play the ball gently and kindly, that is your decision.  Your opponent though may be in a bad mood and smashes it back.  That is not a reflection on you, but a reflection on THEM.  However, you have a choice again.  Do you return the aggression?  Or play another gentle shot?  Or just walk off of the court?

You are only in control of your choices and when you are behaving in a way that is congruent with your values, your desires, you develop self esteem.  Your choices are where your control ends.  How people interpret that behaviour is purely a reflection on them and therefore there is no risk if they judge you negatively.

And the bonus point...

Despite steps 1 and 2, there will be times when you are judged harshly.  It can hurt.  However…..

Opinion is not fact

Someone judging me as being fat, does not make me fat

Someone judging me as clever does not mean I believe I am clever.

I DECIDE what is true for ME

And when you feel in control, there is no room for anxiety

By being in control of whose opinion you listen to, and recognising your control is only ever with what you do, the impact of judgement becomes low risk.

And where there is control there is no room for anxiety.

 

How do you now feel about judgement???
Please share your thoughts with me in the comments box below

Caroline Cavanagh is an anxiety specialist  and hypnotherapist in Salisbury, Wiltshire.  She is an author and public speaker and would love to talk to you if you would like to know more about her work

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