Fear of Judgement
What is Judgement?
We learn a lot about a person from their behavior, their body language, and their energy when we first meet them, and within the first few seconds, we form a solid opinion about them. Our minds try to read and find patterns in everything we see. Some of us formulate a good sense of judgment over time, some of us don’t, depending on our individual experiences.
We often hear the phrase “don’t be too judgemental” or “you’re being judgy”, but we continue to judge, we continue to form an opinion about people based on what we perceive.
We are tailored to think about people and devise a point of view about them. And that does no harm to anyone. Only when we allow our assessment of someone, cloud another’s judgment, or when we allow our judgment to hurt another person, are we in the wrong.
The Fear of Judgement conceptually roots from the need to be validated. Every step of the way, we have had someone define our justice system, we have had someone tell us what’s right and what’s wrong. And our parents or guardians do that for us. Half our lives are a reflection of their beliefs and their values.
You are always going to be misunderstood, you’re always going to be the bad guy in someone’s story, knowingly or unknowingly. If you’re aware of the mistakes you have made, and the people that you have wronged, then it’s a moral obligation for you to make things right. And that too is a choice we make as people. But we involuntarily hurt a lot of people, as we go along our lives, and there’s no way of knowing the specificities of it, so we’ll have to accept not knowing and learn to make peace with it.
Why do we fear being judged?
None of us like being assessed solely on the basis of one trait, or one skill, because that doesn’t define who we are. Nobody likes to be belittled by the people around them for not being good at something.
We fear to be scrutinized and to be evaluated by the people around us. We crave a certain degree of validation from society, from our parents, and our co-workers. We don’t like to disappoint. We like being liked.
It’s alright to worry about what people think of you, it doesn’t make us petty because that’s how we’re hardwired, that is how we’re built.
In terms of our evolutionary history, the fear of being judged seeds from the need to survive in a society. Our ancestors fought for basic necessities like food and shelter, they were banished if they didn’t perform well enough to meet the societal benchmarks set in their times.
Similarly, in modern-day society, people who do perform well in terms of social standards are rewarded, and people that fail are disregarded.
According to studies, the fear of negative evaluation directly proportionates to social anxiety, people who suffer from anxiety might be likely to be fearful of what others think of them.
The fear of being judged might hold us back from performing to our fullest potential. You might involuntarily set extremely high and unrealistic standards for yourself, you might end up being too hard on yourself. And this just results in a vicious cycle of self-loathing and bad performances.
How to deal with the fear of being judged.
Understand your capabilities
Sometimes we end up draining our energy into things that do not matter, that have little to no significance in the bigger picture. But we do it anyway because, at that moment, we do not know any better.
Give yourself time and learn about yourself. Learn who you are as a person, discover your strengths and weaknesses, and understand what you are and aren’t capable of achieving.
We are all built differently and have different intelligence quotients. It is a myth that we can achieve anything if we work hard enough because working hard might be enough to earn a living but it isn’t enough to achieve great things. Picking a niche that you resonate with, will give you self-satisfaction, and will also improve your chances of creating something amazing off of it.
Embracing what’s real might be complicated, but the reality will dawn on us one day whether or not we’re ready for it.
We all possess unique skillsets and the first step in overcoming the fear of being judged is being aware of who you are as a person, being aware of your skills, your mindset, and developing a sense of self-worth.
Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by the ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~Albert Einstein.
Be vulnerable, be true to yourself.
Admitting your weaknesses, and what you expect of yourself in the near & distant future, will give you a lot of clarity.
We often practice self-preservation by avoiding our feelings. We are afraid to be ourselves and let people in because we’re afraid of their judgments. But when you’re self-assured, and you’re confident in who you are, there will be nothing to fear. And like everything else, this too is a process. You will have to work on yourself consistently, believe in yourself, and push yourself to do things that will make you happy.
Resist letting others define you.
Know that your grades and your performance reviews are not an integral part of your identity, rather they are an assessment of one spec of your capabilities. If you take them personally, it might end up hindering your growth as a person.
we’ll have to make peace with the fact that not everyone around us will ever get to know us for who we truly are, the unpolished, raw version of you. Be compassionate and loving with the people around you and also yourself.
We all have different journeys, different experiences to live through. Life is really what we make of it, and recognizing that you are the only person who has power over your own life and your mind will help you attain mental peace over time.