Updated: Jun 19
The game of judgment has truly gone out of proportion. We have gotten used to judging and being judged that it has become the usual cut-and-dry. Most often than not, judgment arises in negative connotation with ugly intent.
With the advent of social media, due to the extensive availability of space, we have the freedom of judging. Cyberspace is filled with heartless judgmental comments aplenty. People keep fighting over their religious beliefs or even movie choices, incessantly criticizing and slandering each other’s values and preferences.
Why do people judge others?
We judge predominantly based on the value system we grew up with. When someone goes to do something beyond those rules, we jump upon to judge them.
Judgement can happen because we are jealous of someone.
It can happen because we have already heard something judgmental about someone and hence we judge them with a preconceived notion.
Maybe a person is too outgoing, dressed out of the context and it seems too much for us to handle and it can make us uncomfortable as we are unable to identify ourselves with them.
We happen to judge others when having low self-esteem. When we see that people can do something that is far from our scope we cannot help, but judge.
When we have grown up in a rather strict environment, surrounded by critiques, we subconsciously pick that habit.
What happens when we start fearing judgement?
Follow societal norms: We make decisions and take actions based on the societal norms anointed upon us when we are unable to handle the judgement from others. We abjure ourselves from dressing up the way we like, we forbear from getting out of a dysfunctional marriage or an abusive relationship, we coerce ourselves into marriage or child-rearing just to follow the age-appropriate rules that society has set.
Fear of missing out: Even if we had the audacity to follow our hearts, we constantly live in fear of missing out, as we don’t fit into the “normal” clan.
Anxiety: Fear of judgment causes anxiety in a social setting. If we have been body-shamed before, the anxiety amplifies further. We may avoid meeting people or attending social gatherings.
Low self-esteem: Our self-esteem stoops down too low as we accept others’ judgment to be true and start living in that perceived reality. Low self-esteem further increases our fear of being judged and we tend to attract situations like that and it becomes a whole new cycle.
Mental Health concerns: When we are encompassed with fear of judgment, we tend to cordon ourselves from others. This could lead to mental health concerns like anxiety, depression, social anxiety etc.
Common causes of fear of judgment and what we can do about it?
Low Self-esteem: Fear of judgment engulfs us when we lack self-esteem. When we are not confident enough, we tend to believe others’ statements because of the inability to believe ourselves.
Therapy - Therapy goes a long way in touching the base and clearing it off from the core. It is always helpful to seek professional help.
Lack of clarity: It is only when we don’t have clarity of what our life values and goals are, we tend to pay heed to the judgment of others.
Define you - It is essential to construct a definite value system and life goals.
Who we are?
What is more important in life?
What is our core value?
When we have definitive answers to the above questions, other’s judgment cannot frazzle us.
Did I mean what others think?
Did I do something beyond my ethics?
Is this helping me?
Rationalizing with these types of questions could help us take the power back from the people who judge us.
Constructive feedback - Getting feedback from people we trust and respect can give us certainty about what we are doing and in turn helps us to overpass the comments that don’t matter.
Lack of acceptance: When we are unable to accept ourselves and our life situations we tend to fall prey to judgment. The “why me” mentality can lead to “what if” fears.
Overthinking - of the time we tend to overthink about what others may adjudge. It can push us into interpreting the situation to be abysmal, which may not even be true in a real-life scenario.
No one cares - No one cares about others. Most often the comments which hurt us would have been passed on mindlessly and bygone. There is no point in mulling over them. We should try to bypass them and focus on other important things.
It is OK - If we stop us from being ourselves because of fear of being judged, we can never live our life to the fullest. It is OK to be embarrassed now and then. In the end, what matters is how well we lived our life and not how many people we were able to satisfy.
It happens anyway - Fearing judgment is not going to shirk others from judging us. Whatever we do or say, there will be people to judge and comment on us.
Finally, we can't control what people think of us, but we have the choice of how we react to it. We need to master the art of being comfortable in our own skin.
Written by - Sanjana Bafna
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