FEAR OF JUDGEMENT
As children we used to be free in the true sense of the word- free from the pressures of society, free from inhibitions and judgment and we used to be creatures of our own whims and fancies. As we grow older we start becoming conscious of each and every move that we make. Every action of ours is preceded with the question-:
How Will Others Perceive It?
Why is it that the fear of other’s perception holds us back from expressing our genuine self?
At times, we may alienate our usual self, our idiosyncrasies and our opinions seeing the criticism and ridicule sentenced to those who were bold enough to stand out from the crowd.
Why do we fear judgment?
Low self confidence – Self-doubt makes us prone to being affected by criticism and judgment. Criticism feels like a personal attack on our self-esteem when our inherent belief is that others are better/superior to us. Else we would only think of it as “their opinion” and not believe it to true about us.
External locus of control – When we are externally motivated i.e. we accomplish goals to compete or impress and seek validation from others, we end up taking their opinion personally as we attach a lot of importance to them
Lack of support system – Constant comparison from our parents, family members or peers can have a deleterious effect on how we perceive ourselves. Lack of appreciation and support can affect our self-image.
Going through a rough phase – When we are going through dark storms in our life, we become more vulnerable to the barrage of other’s judgment as we ourselves are struggling with self-doubt and lack of direction so we feel belittled by other’s perceptions of us.
Socialization process – Fear of judgment is deeply ingrained in our consciousness. Even the most confident people are shackled by this fear which indicates that the reasons for this fear are not superficial but there is something fundamental going on here. Early on from our childhood, all our learning has been through the carrot-stick approach that in order to attain reward, love, a sense of belongingness and appreciation, we need to behave in a certain manner or we would have to face the consequences of punishment, ridicule or rejection. Hence in a way we are programmed to conform.
How to overcome Fear of Judgment?
Build Self Confidence– Having a high regard for self, helps us to be more objective when we receive criticism. We take it as constructive feedback rather than a personal attack on our self-esteem.
Clarity of purpose– Having a blazing passion and a sense of fulfillment blots out the criticisms from others. We are so engrossed in getting better and have such clarity in our sense of purpose that other’s views do not hold us back.
Support System– When we have a close circle of people who are a constant source of encouragement, support and appreciation then it helps us to feel secure in our abilities and potential.
Socialization Process– When we teach our children right from wrong, we should also take that learning one step forward by giving them the reason behind why we are ascribing them to follow those certain behaviors. This helps them to ask questions and get better clarity about why they should follow what is considered appropriate by the society. This enables them to make better decisions in the future as well regarding important life decisions.
Why Is Their Perception Important – It’s important to ask ourselves why we should attach value to other’s opinion?
Following a crowd is so comfortable and so widely accepted that we inadvertently feel a sense of belongingness in being indistinct and feel fearful of standing out in a world that celebrates conformity. While we can’t avoid being judged, we can avoid letting others define us.
At such times we need to remember that judgment is inherent in this competitive world. The evaluation of others is not in our control, how we respond to it, is.
“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation” – Oscar Wilde