How to Overcome the Fear of Being Judged in the Court of Popular Opinion
July 28, 2021
LaVerne H. Collins, Ph.D., LPC, LCMHC, NCC
Fearing what others think? It's a huge fear for a lot of people. You think about how people will view your house, car, clothes, career, and social media posts. It's burdensome, distracting, and just plain damaging!
Here are 7 steps to overcoming the fear of what other people think about you:
- Avoid judging others. Most of us assume that the things we do and think about are the same things other people do and think about, but that’s not always true. You’ll actually be less prone to worrying about being judged if you stop judging others.
- Deal with your inner critic. We wouldn’t be worried about other people judging us if we didn’t think about it. While the thoughts that pop into your mind are beyond your control, you do have the power to redirect your attention to more useful and supportive thoughts. Catch yourself when you have a negative thought and think about something more positive, instead.
- Remove the people in your life that judge you. This might seem harsh, but why in the world would you want someone like that in your life? Have a chat with them and explain that you’re done tolerating their behavior. If they refuse to change, or can’t change, let them go.
- Avoid making comparisons to other people. Everyone is different. It’s impossible to make any comparisons to others that are 100% fair. You’re either being too kind to yourself or too hard on yourself. God made you for authenticity. Too often we look at others and assume that their gifts and talents are more esteemed than ours, so we devalue ourselves. Your life has no less value than anyone else's, so stop comparing what you can't control.
It’s easier and more meaningful to just compare yourself today to yourself in the past. If you’re making progress, you’re doing very well.
- Remember that it’s not really about you. People that judge you have issues.
● They might be jealous.
● They might be upset that your success is highlighting their lack of success.
● They might be seeking attention.
● They might just be unkind in general.
● Regardless of their reason for judging you, ignore them and move on.
- Know your strength. You might feel weak and fragile, but you’re not. Your ancestors were tough. They were warriors compared to the average person today. You come from people that survived wars, plagues, droughts and had to perform a lot of miserable manual labor. You’re tougher at your core than you think.
- You’re always going to be judged regardless of what you do. No matter what pair of shoes you wear, some people will love them, and others will hate them. Every single thing you do and say will be appreciated by some and scorned by others. It’s a game you can’t win, so it will benefit you to refuse to play it. Just do what you feel is best. You’re going to be judged either way.
The fear of being judged can be crippling to your happiness and sense of fulfillment. Everyone is going to judge you, but it doesn’t matter. The opinions of 99% of the people you know are completely irrelevant.
Instead of worrying about what others think, spend your time creating and building your life. Overcome your fear of being judged! It’s the only way to live.
In the words of Bernard M. Baruch, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."