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5 Ways to Overcome The Fear of Being Judged

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What people think about you is none of your busines

In a recent Q&A to a group of amazing individuals, one of the questions I was asked was around the fear of being judged. It made me reflect and think back to my teens when I used to fear being judged by others. That was until I realized that no matter what I did, what I said or how I looked, I’d always be judged by someone.

You see, if I allowed the narrow-minded opinions and self-hating ways of others to define and shape who I am, I wouldn’t be where I am and who I am today. When we fear being judged by others, we lose a part of who we are during the process. That’s how carbon copies are created and people become a shadow of their true self.

That’s no way to live right? The narrow-minded opinions of others should never prevent us from honouring who we are, and showing up in the world as our true self. Now I understand this may sound easier said than done, but there is always a solution and a way to breakthrough regardless of how things may seem.

Here are five ways to overcome the fear of being judged by others:

1. There will only ever be one you

Requiring validation and the acceptance of others will never serve us. Accept and love yourself for who you are, both inside and out. We are all unique beings with beautiful flaws. It’s those flaws that make us stand out from the crowd and draw people towards us. Think about all the things that make you unique and use them to your advantage. Who wants to conform to what’s considered the ‘norm’ anyway?

“Embrace your uniqueness. Time is much too short to be living someone else’s life.” – Kobi Yamada

2. You are here because you have a purpose

Every single one of us has gifts, talents, skills and experiences that are meant to be shared. Long to write an article, create a video, an audio or stand on stage in front of a live audience? Don’t let the fear of judgement stop you. There is someone out there that needs you. There is someone waiting for you to shine your light in their direction so they can overcome what they are going through. They don’t want to hear from anyone else, but you. How long are you going to hold in your greatness?

 

3. What people think of you is none of your business

What and how you feel about yourself is what actually matters. What other people think is none of your business. If you make it your business, you’ll end up carrying around the opinions of others on your back that will end up weighing you down. What happens when something becomes too heavy? The weight becomes too much to bare and to take further steps forward it has to be released. Free yourself.

 

4. Focus on what you can control

Don’t allow yourself to be distracted by things you’ll never be able to control. External influences which is everything that is not derived from within will always be there, but the role and impact that they play within our lives is a choice. Have you ever heard the saying “like water off a ducks back?” That’s exactly how to treat the things you can’t control. Let go of them and allow them to roll off.

“You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this and you will find strength.” – Marcus Aurelius

5. Free yourself from limitations

We have a responsibility and owe it to ourselves to be bold, fearless and free from things and people that can limit our abilities, hold us back and suffocate our greatness if we allow them to. Allow your voice to be heard and your inner light to radiate because whilst we cannot control the external influences, we always have the power within to control our internal influences.

What way out of the five served you the most? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!

Danielle McDonald is the clarity architect. Danielle is dedicated to helping individuals gain absolute clarity, develop the right mindset and take action for results. You can download her FREE action guide to help you renew your mind for growth and success here. You can also check out Danielle’s website where you can watch videos and listen to her podcast show.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Anjali Papreja

    Jan 25, 2017 at 10:51 am

    This is really inspiring.

    • Danielle

      May 6, 2017 at 5:57 pm

      Thank you so much Anjali! Really appreciate you commenting.

  2. Linda Brogan

    Jul 22, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I have struggled and do struggle still sometimes but not as much as I used to with others judgement of me. In fact as a teenager it crippled my life. Your five tips are so necessary in the world. So life affirming. So refreshing. I especially like it is none of my business. It is so something my dad would have said and made me chuckle to think of my dad on the same page as Marcus Aurelius. It was a pleasure listening to you coach.

    • Danielle

      May 6, 2017 at 5:56 pm

      I just went back to this post and saw your comment Linda. Please accept my apologies for missing it. Although you commented months ago I wanted to reply and thank you for taking the time to read the post and share your thoughts. I’m really pleased it served you and I hope 2017 has been an amazing year for you so far.

  3. Chris Targett

    Jul 19, 2016 at 6:19 pm

    I love the analogy of carrying the burden of what other people think of you can be something heavy that you can’t carry round with you.

    Whereas if you think of a person who doesn’t take other people’s opinions of them onboard, it presents an image of someone who is carrying less and is free to explore any path as they don’t have the burden.

    Great article, keep it up 🙂

    • Danielle

      Jul 22, 2016 at 11:41 pm

      Thank you so much Chris! Really appreciate your comment and yes I agree with you. That image is so much more freeing. 🙂

  4. abinand

    Jun 8, 2016 at 1:56 am

    nic article , am gaining strength with your words

    • Danielle

      Jun 8, 2016 at 9:32 pm

      Abinand, thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to read the article and comment. I truly appreciate you for doing so. Super happy to read that the post served you and you gained strength from it. Wishing you continued success for your journey in great abundance. Peace, light and blessings to you. 🙂

  5. uday

    Jun 7, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Excellent article..I’m the person who never did anything in my life because of the only sole reason “WHAT PEOPLE THINK OF ME”. These words never allowed me to do anything. I was searching for a way to come out of this dump and finally found a way through this article. It’s not so easy like it sounds but I will try as best as I can. Thanks for a wonderful article.

    • Danielle

      Jun 7, 2016 at 7:59 pm

      Thank you so much for your comment Uday. You are so very welcome. Words cannot express how happy I am to know that this post served you. I thank God for giving me the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to be able to serve you and others in this way. I wish you peace, light, blessings and success on your journey in great abundance. 🙂

  6. Tim Denning

    Jun 7, 2016 at 3:20 am

    Danielle I found this article really inspiring. Every point you raised had some relevance to me. I love the point “what people think of you is none of your business.” It’s so easy to care about what people think of you but even if you’re an angel, there are always imperfections that others can find.

    Thanks so much for this article.

    • Danielle

      Jun 7, 2016 at 8:06 pm

      Awww Tim, you are soo very welcome. Thank you so much for your kind words. I am so happy that this post served you. You’re right, it can be so easy to care about what people think, but it’s amazing what it feels like to release that weight of what others think. Thank you for reading and engaging with this post. Wishing you continued success in great abundance. Peace, light and blessings to you Tim. 🙂

  7. Charlene Rhinehart

    Jun 6, 2016 at 5:32 pm

    Great article! Thanks for sharing! Point #2 resonates with me. “There is someone waiting for you to shine your light in their direction so they can overcome what they are going through.” Most people don’t think about how their gifts are presents for other people to unwrap. The more we share our gifts, the more we contribute to making the world a better place. We need to forget the fear of being judged and focus on the impact that we can make.

    • Danielle

      Jun 7, 2016 at 8:14 pm

      Charlene, thank you so much for your kind words and it’s great to be connected with you on Twitter. 🙂 You’re very welcome, I feel blessed I was able to share this article and I’m thankful to the Addicted2Success team for giving me the opportunity. Amen! I love your statement: “Most people don’t think about how their gifts are presents for other people to unwrap.” Our purpose is bigger than us and I agree, the more we share the world becomes a better place. I truly appreciate you reading and engaging with this post. Peace light and blessings to you and may the rest of the year and beyond be filled with great things wrapped in abundance. 🙂

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

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Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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