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12 ways to stop fearing the judgments of others

We’ve all been through the wringer a time or two in public and have felt like the whole world was watching us fail or make a mistake.

It’s the worst, right?

Once the sting wears off and you get over the embarrassment, you might be wondering how to avoid feeling like that ever again.

And you wouldn’t be alone in that sentiment. That’s because when we feel judged what’s really happening is we’re being outcast from the group.

Humans are pack animals and we need to belong to a group in order to survive.

Everyone knows that Maslow’s hierarchy of needs showcases what we need to thrive and right in the middle of that pyramid is love.

We need to feel love and accept it. It’s what the rest of our happiness is based on.

So when you feel alienated from the group, it can be very difficult to get over.

There are ways to overcome feeling judged and there are some ways to help you get back in the saddle when you’ve fallen flat on your face in front of what seems like everyone on earth.

It’s important to realize that to be liked and accepted all the time is impossible.

Humans are judgmental, it’s both parts of how the mind works, and how society is.

But you don’t need to live within the confines of being acceptable to others and society.

Here are some ways that you can stop fearing judgment and start living authentically.

1. Know where you stand and what you bring to the table.

In order to quickly overcome judgment and feelings of being seen for who you really are, you need to know who you really are.

It’s that simple.

Everyone makes mistakes. You have to know that deep in your soul, you are not this mistake.

It won’t define you. It sucks now, sure, but it won’t paint the rest of your life. Unless, you know, you’re in politics.

Otherwise, you can safely bet that although it feels like everyone is watching and snickering behind your back right now, this won’t last.

On your path to discovering who you really are in the world, it will be important that you take time to identify and celebrate what makes you, you.

What makes you different from everyone else on the planet?

It’s hard to tell sometimes, especially because we are often so critical of ourselves in comparison to other people.

But rather than feeling weighed down by your differences, celebrate them and put them front and center in your exploration of yourself.

If you allow yourself to be happy about who you are, you’ll find that you are much happier in all areas of your life.

A practical exercise to find out what your unique characteristics are is to list down 10 traits about yourself that you’re proud of.

This could be your kindness, your loyalty, or the fact that you’re skilled at knitting!

2. Don’t let other people tell you who you are.

Despite the naysayers’ opinions of you, nobody gets to decide who you are and how you live your life.

Rather than hide away from who you are after an epic fail in public, consider that everyone is entitled to their opinions, but you don’t have to agree.

This isn’t about ignorant arrogance; it’s about confidence.

People judge other people when they are trying to hide behind their own faults.

If someone is judging you, you can bet it’s because they have no idea how they would react in that situation or they have been in that situation and they shit the bed even worse than you are.

It would be better if we supported one another during this time, but we don’t usually opt for kindness, do we?

Keep in mind, you get to decide how to respond to what other people think of you.

The best way? Don’t even have an opinion about it.

n order to find your place in life, you need to understand the power you have within you to make change happen and last for a long time.

We all have the courage and opportunity to make a change; we just have to be willing to go after it.

When we tap into our power, we are unstoppable and we can design the lives we really want.

If you want to find out who you really are, tap into the power inside you and use it as often as possible to challenge situations, people, and opportunities.

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3. Pay attention to the little voice in your head.

Here’s something to consider: is it really the people in your life judging you or are you judging yourself?

We’re so hard on ourselves sometimes that it can feel like the attack is coming from outside of ourselves, when in fact, it is the little red devil on our left shoulder telling us how crappy we are.

In the same way you get to decide to agree or disagree with someone about you, you get to decide if you agree with yourself.

Seems obvious, right?

But how many times a day do you say horrible things to yourself? Probably more than everyone else combined.

4. Do what feels right to you.

When it comes right down to it, if you fell on your face while trying to do something you really wanted to do and now you regret doing it because people saw you fail, chin up.

There’s no need to feel ashamed for trying. So many people don’t even try and yet, they’ll be the first ones to make fun or point fingers.

Remind yourself that failing just means you tried. And if you tried once, you can try again. And again. Do whatever it takes. Do what feels right to you.

5. Keep betting on you. You know yourself better than anyone else knows you.

When the little voice in your head and the fear in your chest take over, and when the noise from the street is too loud for you to deal with, take a breath.

Remember that you know what you’re capable of more than anyone. People are going to judge. There’s nothing you can do to stop them.

They will do what they want to do. You should do what you want to do and remember, if you can’t bet on you, who will?

6. Realize that things are temporary.

While we make judgments all the time, we hardly remember half of them.

The things people are most probably going to remember are the big things, the patterns, and the way that you make them feel.

By accepting and embracing change, it gives us enormous liberation and energy to create the lives we want. Buddhist Daisaku Ikeda says that accepting change allows us to take initiative and create positive changes in our lives.

“Buddhism holds that everything is in constant flux. Thus the question is whether we are to accept change passively and be swept away by it or whether we are to take the lead and create positive changes on our own initiative. While conservatism and self-protection might be likened to winter, night, and death, the spirit of pioneering and attempting to realize ideals evokes images of spring, morning, and birth.”  – Daisaku Ikeda

7. You cannot avoid judgment.

You can’t control what others think.  No matter what you do you cannot force someone to not judge you.

The best you can do is keep an open line of communication so that as you interact, you can honestly talk about the challenges, hard situations, and try your best to understand each other.

By being part of compassionate relationships, judgment becomes irrelevant.

8. Who cares?

Let others do what they will do.  It can be really liberating to share things about yourself openly and have the confidence to say “I don’t care” about judgment.

If you’re being 100% true to yourself and expressing what is true for you, others’ judgment won’t change it anyway.

It can also help you to reflect on what your real fears are about judgment.  This can promote self-discovery as well as reflect who can be a supportive friend or partner and who can’t.

In the end, you don’t need to worry what other people think of you.

Why?

Because it’s a waste of time!

Here is a great quote from Thich Nhat Hanh on why worrying really is useless:

“Worrying does not accomplish anything. Even if you worry twenty times more, it will not change the situation of the world. In fact, your anxiety will only make things worse. Even though things are not as we would like, we can still be content, knowing we are trying our best and will continue to do so. If we don’t know how to breathe, smile,and live every moment of our life deeply, we will never be able to help anyone. I am happy in the present moment. I do not ask for anything else. I do not expect any additional happiness or conditions that will bring about more happiness. The most important practice is aimlessness, not running after things, not grasping.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

9. See your own judgments.

Instead of focusing on others’ judgments, take a look at your own.  What judgments do you hold that may even be preventing you from sharing yourself completely with others.

It may be possible that you are your own biggest judge, and once you can stop judging yourself, you can feel confident to share things with others.

Also, others may be more likely to judge you if you have a judgmental mindset.

The way you perceive things can be felt by others and if your thoughts consist of “he’s dumb,” or “she’s a loser” then it is probable that those people will think judgmental things back at you.

Come into situations willing to accept others and their ideas and you will be much better received.

10. Don’t compare yourself to others.

Tell yourself you are enough. Whether you are being judged or are judging someone else, remind yourself that you are enough and they are enough and there’s no need to have an opinion about it, either way.

Here is a great quote from spiritual master Osho on why you need to look inside yourself instead of caring what other people think.

“Nobody can say anything about you. Whatsoever people say is about themselves. But you become very shaky because you are still clinging to a false center. That false center depends on others, so you are always looking at what people are saying about you. And you are always following other people, you are always trying to satisfy them. You are always trying to be respectable, you are always trying to decorate your ego. This is suicidal. Rather than being disturbed by what others say, you should start looking inside yourself…

11. Accept that everyone judges someone or something at some time in their lives.

It doesn’t make it right, but it is okay to be in that moment and accept that you have a choice to respond in a different way.

Choose to forgive yourself being judgemental or for the person who has judged you and move on.

12. Keep your inner critic on a leash.

Don’t let your brain get away from you. If you start to spiral in self-judgment or if you are on a rant about someone else, slow down and ask yourself what you are getting out of this thought.

Finally, remember that nobody what you do, someone, somewhere will have an opinion about it and think you should be doing things differently. That’s okay. You do you.

Want to get to know yourself? Try this exercise

The truth is this:

The more you know yourself, the less you’ll care about what other people think of you.

It’s a tough spot to be in when you don’t like yourself or your life, but it’s one worth getting out of.

Working on getting to know yourself puts you in a place of control.

When you don’t know anything about yourself or you refuse to face the demons, you end up in a place where you lose control and that’s when things feel like they aren’t as good as they could be.

Take back control and learn to love yourself into a better life by turning the lens inward, instead of looking to others to make things better for yourself.

The best way to get to know yourself is through VITALS. This is an acronym for the 6 building blocks of self.

Here’s what the letters stand for and how to find it in yourself:

V = Values

What are your values? This can include “helping others” or “health” or “being creative”. Think about it and write down 10 important values that describe you.

I=Interests

To figure out your interests, ask yourself these questions: What do you pay attention to? What are you most concerned about? What gets your mind really curious?

T= Temperament

Answer these questions to figure out your temperament: Do you restore your energy by being alone or with other people? Do you prefer to plan or be spontaneous? Do you make decisions based on facts or feelings? Do you prefer big ideas or details?

A= Around-the-Clock Activities

When do you like to do things? Are you a morning or evening person? What time of day does your energy peak?

L = Life Mission and Meaningful Goals

What is your purpose in life? What have been the most meaningful events of your life? What’s your main motivation for getting up in the morning?

S= Strengths

What are your strongest abilities? Skills? Talents? What are your greatest character strengths?

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Lachlan Brown

Written by Lachlan Brown

I’m Lachlan Brown, the founder, and editor of Hack Spirit. I love writing practical articles that help others live a mindful and better life. I have a graduate degree in Psychology and I’ve spent the last 6 years reading and studying all I can about human psychology and practical ways to hack our mindsets. If you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Facebook.

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