Fear of being judged

Few people do not worry about how others judge us; from what we wear, to what we say, to our actions.  And with so much now being caught on social media and accessible to the world, that realm of judgement becomes literally global!

With all the work I have done on myself, all that I have learned in the work that I do, I tend to be on the lower scale when it comes to fear of judgement - and perhaps a big part of that is getting older - maturity tends to bring with it a little more of the 'I am what I am' attitude!

However recently I was interviewed by some experts who wanted to really understand who I was and what I did - and boy did I feel exposed!   I confidently started the interview by talking about how I start the journey off with a new client and straight away I got, "Why?"  And often I couldn't answer it in any more detail than 'It's just what I do!'

It left me realising how much I do because it has just evolved that way and whilst there is that saying, "Don't fix something that ain't broken," I'd never really stopped to think if perhaps things might be a little cracked!!

What was really scary was then hearing back from these experts how they perceived me - it was like looking in the mirror but the face talking back to you was a reflection that was out of your control.  No additional layer of mascara or lip gloss was going to improve the reflection!

We often worry about the judgement of others so actually asking for it can be very exposing.  However, what helped me to take this step was knowing that these were opinions - there is no right or wrong. I chose to get the opinion from these people because they are experts in their field and I chose to place a value on their opinions.  I still have total autonomy in choosing whether I accept their feedback or not.

And that is the message I want to pass on.  You will be judged - so worrying won't change anything!  We all judge each other, it is part of the information gathering we need to do to decide on our course of action.  The key is to recognise that a judgement is just an opinion, a perspective seen through a certain set of filters.  And all of us have different filters which means we see things in slightly different ways.

There is one judgement that should always be placed as the most important - your own!  If you are happy with who you are, how you dress, the words you use, that is perfect.  People may not agree with you, but they are filtering things differently and those filters are not yours - and there is no need to start using them!

My exposure has led me to decide to change some things, largely because it is time for a change.  Being brave and asking for judgement can be very insightful, very liberating and allow you to see things through filters that you decide you want to use - a bit like putting a different lens on a camera and seeing things in a whole new level of detail.

Many years ago I did a leadership course where everybody had to write down one thing they felt about each participant on the course.  The trainer then collated all of those comments and gave them to each individual.  What surprised most particiapnts was that nearly all of the comments were positive.  You could argue that this was because we were all still infront of each other and no-one wanted to be negative, but I think it is becuase when you ask for judgements, you find that people often reflect back your strengths.

We fear judgement and so never actively pursue it.  However when you ask for it, I think you may be pleasantly surprised on what is reflected back.

So who is up for a little challenge?

If you are a social media user, put up a post and ask for 3 words that describe you and then be brave and hit 'Post'.

If social media is not your thing, ask 10 people you know to do the same thing. If you don't want to do it face to face, give them a self addressed post card and ask them to post it back to you - and then it can be anonymous.

I think you will be very pleasantly surprised at what you get back.

Anyone up for it....???

Please use the comments box below to let me know if you are and I would love to support you in doing it.

Published by Caroline Cavanagh Clinical Hypnotherapist and author of Anxiety Alchemy. on |


RE: Fear of being judged

Liz, there is no right in wrong way to do this. You can just ask for 3 words and see what people come back with, or you can ask for one good, one area people think you could improve on and a lucky dip! So pleased you are up for the challenge!!
Commented by: Caroline Cavanagh on Tuesday 13th August 2019 05:32:57 PM

RE: Fear of being judged

Yes I’m up for the challenge and might even be braver and ask for the good the bad and the ugly truth †. Or would that defeat the object of the challenge?
Commented by: Liz Evans on Friday 9th August 2019 06:38:48 PM

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