“Judge me if you want, but at the end of my life I choose to have memories not regrets.”
– Steve Maraboli
Let’s face it, all of us, feel the palpable fear of judgment at some point in our lives. After all, we humans crave a sense of belonging – the innate need to be accepted by others.
Unfortunately, this fear can be one of our greatest downfalls. If left ‘unchecked’, it can potentially hinder us from becoming the best version of ourselves as well as preventing us from living our best lives.
Truth be told, I too have encountered countless moments in the past where I would opt would keep my opinions to myself or felt the need to conform in order to be liked or accepted with others.
Having personally faced this dilemma, I know all too well that letting go of this nagging fear of judgment is certainly much easier said than done. That said, here are a couple of useful tips I’ve picked up over the years that has helped me to start living life more authentically:
1. Understand the Fear
This may sound like a strange tip at first but allow me to elaborate.
Understanding our fear and where it’s actually coming from helps to overcome it because more often than not, our fear of judgement originated within ourselves.
Many of us make up stories in our head of how people perceive us. For example, we have a fear that we feel inadequate or not smart enough so we come to the automatic conclusion that everyone we encounter think that we’re stupid or not smart enough. As a result, we become afraid to speak our truth and are unable to make a real connection with others.
Be aware of your inner critic – understand that your judgement of yourself is not necessarily the truth and it may not reflect how people see you. Learn to quiet that ‘mean’ voice in your head and stop letting it define you. Choose to give in to vulnerability and give others a chance to see who you truly are.
2. Accept that Judgement is Inevitable
“To avoid criticism say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard
We may not want to admit it but truth is we *all* judge and there’s nothing we can do about it. That said, remember that though we can’t control what others think of us, it also means that no one can control what we think of them either! Once we come to accept that judgement is inevitable, it’s rather liberating.
People can always criticize and have their own opinions about you but at the end of the day, remember that the only validation that you need is one you give to yourself.
Realize that though we may not be able to ‘free’ ourselves completely from our need of being liked, it’s important to know that it is impossible to get everyone to like or agree with you – and that’s OK.
Let’s look at it this way, how can we expect for everyone to like us when we, ourselves, don’t (and won’t) necessarily resonate with or like every single person you encounter?
3. Make Yourself a Priority
Take the time to get to know what makes you, you. By having a solid understanding of who you truly are, you won’t be easily swayed by other’s perception of yourself.
You can do this by making yourself a priority. Set aside ‘me’ time and jot down all the things that make who you are. Be honest about your strengths, and more importantly, your weaknesses. Acknowledge the things are good at and what you need to work on.
It’s crucial to note that everyone – without exception – is flawed and once you come to terms that no one is perfect (including you), it makes it a whole lot easier to come to terms with things that you need to improve on. Once you are able to do this, others will less likely to be able to take control of the way you feel about yourself. Instead of constantly worrying about what others think about you, you can focus your energy on becoming the best version of yourself that you can possibly be!