One of the hardest things you can do is put yourself out there to be judged. And that doesn’t just mean going out under a spotlight on centre stage; it can be as simple as speaking up in a meeting.
The truth is, if you fear being judged, you’ll find many situations pressurised and sweat-inducing. You’ll panic about things you never thought would scare you before.
The great news is, by working on your own mindset, you’ll be able to get over your fear of being judged so you can stop being a supporting character and start being the lead in the story of your life!
Why do we fear being judged?
Most of us are looking for two basic needs in our life: social acceptance and love. The problem is, when we fear we are being judged, we only worry about being judged negatively, and in doing so, what we are really scared of is that others will reject us.
And it’s no surprise we fear it. Rejection hurts! Not only does it bruise our ego, but it also fuels any self-beliefs we have about not being worthy of love.
There’s an evolutionary link to this as well. Back in the times of the caveman, people lived in tribes. They depended on each other to mate and survive. Alone, they wouldn’t make it very long. And as with a lot of evolutionary traits from our ancestors, that one has stuck with us.
Examples of feeling judged
Below are some examples of how being judged can occur in everyday life situations.
- You reach to have another slice of cake, and your friend questions if you are really going to eat another slice.
- A family member questions if you intend to leave the house in what you are wearing.
- Someone looking you up and down.
- When you are talking to someone, seeing that they are visually tired of what you are saying.
What happens when we fear being judged?
It’s normal to feel the occasional worry of being judged during moments of high exposure and pressure. The problem starts when it trickles down to everyday life. What will my colleagues say if I speak up in this meeting? Will my friends judge me because I don’t make as much money as them? Is that guy at the bar judging me because I’m not dressed well enough?
There are a million everyday scenarios in which we put unnecessary pressure on ourselves to be perfect, and we convince ourselves that no matter how hard we try, someone will see through our mask and judge us for being imperfect (because let’s face it, none of us are perfect).
And so, we begin to retreat from everyday life. We skip out on plans with friends, we stop putting ourselves out there in the dating scene, and we convince ourselves we won’t be accepted if we do the things we love.
And that kind of avoidance can lead to depression, anxiety, and agoraphobia.
So it’s vital to nip your fear in the bud now because it’s never too late to get back on the horse and start living life again! Let’s look closer at how to overcome the fear of being judged by others.
Five ways to overcome your fear of being judged
People are incredibly self-centred
When you are scared of being judged, you’re living in your head, right? Well, guess what? Everyone else around you is also extremely preoccupied with themselves to be paying much attention to anyone else. And even when they do, it’s usually a fleeting thought before they circle straight back around to themselves.
Why is this important to help you overcome your fear of being judged? Well, by realising that people aren’t actually paying attention to you, you’ll start to realise you aren’t being judged nearly as much as you think you are.
In fact, here’s an experiment for you: Next time you go out for a walk, pay attention and see how many people stare at you or take more than a second’s notice.
You’ll probably find most people are too buried in their phone to care, and the people that do look probably have a very neutral expression on their face as you are literally an object within their spatial awareness.
It’s not me: it’s them
Ok, sure, even though no one is really paying you attention most of the time, some people will still judge you. But if that happens, it’s ok.
Think about it, does that person’s opinion matter to your life? Have you actually done something wrong, or are they just being rude? Are you even sure they were negatively judging you?
By questioning your thoughts around being judged, what you’ll come to realise is that someone judging you has more to do with them and their own insecurities than it does anything you have done.
Besides, as the saying goes:
“Those who mind don’t matter, and those that matter don’t mind.”
When in doubt, journal it out
Journals are a brilliant place to get your feelings out. So when you are feeling particularly self-conscious and afraid of judgement, try writing about it and getting to the root of the problem.
More often than not, you’ll find that rather than being scared of what others may think of you, you’re worried about not living up to your own expectations of how you think you should be.
When you start being kinder and more understanding to yourself, that fear of judgement will decrease over time.
You, dear friend, need a confidence boost so that your inner brilliance can shine through! Using affirmations is a great way to remind yourself how worthy you are of love and acceptance and that you are amazing just the way you are.
Choose three to five affirmations and repeat them daily, and watch your mindset shift and your confidence along with it!
Find what makes you excited
When you find that thing that makes you jump out of bed with joy every morning, don’t let anything stop you from going for it.
Use it as a focal point to keep reaching for your dreams, and remember that your dreams are worth much more than any one person’s judgement could ever have.
You only get one life, so don’t waste it worrying about the thoughts and opinions of others. Instead, follow your heart and passions fully, and you’ll attract the right people in your life that will never make you feel scared of judgement again.
For more daily inspirations on how to live a more meaningful life, check us out on Instagram @malpaper