Fear of judgment. Three tips on how to overcome it.
Have you ever wanted to share your life experiences with others, your opinions, ideas, thoughts and stopped yourself because you wonder, “What if they judge me? What if they don´t like me or despise me after what they hear? What if they do not care about it?”. Those questions might be followed by negative remarks you give yourself: Maybe you tell yourself, “I am an idiot, a loser, nobody cares. I am worthless, not good enough, I am ashamed of myself, etc.” Have you noticed the way you talk to yourself? Do you use a harsh tone to pinpoint your perceived wrongdoings? Does it seem that you have an internal bully who prevents you from putting yourself out there? If you do, you might be not only feeling judged but also feeling bad about yourself. The blame space can be truly hurtful, utterly , devastating. Does it constantly get in your way to be yourself and accomplish things you want in life?
Change is possible and it starts by learning to accept yourself with all your attributes and flaws. I know that it’s easier to say than do. However, I also know that this is possible. Here are three tips that can help you to be less self-judgmental.
Three tips on how to be less-judgmental
Acknowledge your feelings
Let’s face it. Life sometimes might bring up too many lemons at the same time. Okay, maybe not too many but a huge one. When we are dealing with a difficult situation, it is hard to even put it into words. We just know that it feels awful, maybe you feel scared, sad, betrayed, disappointed, depressed. Any of those feelings can be damaging and drain the best on us. The first step NAME your feelings just as you FEEL THEM. For example, you can say something like, “ I feel SAD. I feel depressed. I feel judged. I feel scared.”
One of my tenets as a psychotherapist is to guide my clients in processing their emotions. Recognizing your feelings is one important step that can help you heal the hurt.
Talk to yourself with kindness
The second step is to practice talking to yourself with kindness. Dr. Kristen Neff, researcher and pioneer of self-compassion has found that talking to yourself with kindness can help you soothe your emotions. Think about the way you would talk to a close friend, who you deeply care about. Imagine yourself talking to your friend, what words of comfort you would tell a friend if they share with you they have fear of judgement. If they felt bad about themselves, they don’t think they fit, they look at themselves down, they don’t think they are good enough. Would you judge them for feeling bad about themselves? What tone of voice would you use to talk to them? I am guessing that you would probably use comforting words and a soothing tone of voice, right? That’s the way I encourage you to talk to yourself.
Open up about your feelings
The third step is to share how you feel with someone you trust, someone who you know in your heart won’t judge you. This could be a good friend, a family member or maybe even your higher power. If you can’t think of anyone, one idea is to reach out for help, therapy can offer you a safe space to be your authentic self without having to feel concerned of being judged.
In my experience, people care, love, and support one another when you open your heart and share your enjoyments and burdens. When we share with each other, we create a loving community, a safe place to give and find support and ways to handle what once seemed to be unbearable situations.
Henri Nouwen in his book Can You Drink the Cup suggests that sharing is part of the healing process. By sharing our experiences, we also heal ourselves because we are able to come to terms with unsolvable situations. We receive the corrective experiences that once we were craving to have, such as being understood, heard, protected, and loved
from our caregivers. Moreover, sharing allows us to normalize the difficult situation we might be on our plate, and help aids us to step out of our shame and guilt by finding acceptance and love and feeling that it is totally ok to feel the way we do. We do not have to continue suffering.
Some of us might have planned to keep the dark side of our life a secret. By hiding, we hold on too much pain. It might feel unbearable. The outcome of sharing our struggles might be the opposite of what we expect. We might receive support instead of rejection, love and compassion instead of hatred, and—above all— opening up gives us the opportunity to finding our true authentic self in a community.
By sharing, we give and receive hope and faith to others, and we find ourselves in a grateful state of mind. A stated of mind that might allow us to accept ourselves just as we are and stop feeling afraid of people’s judgment.