Making Peace with the Fear of Being Judged

by Maria Koropecky, Spiritual Wellness Coach

Many people like to sit on their high horses and look down their noses at everyone else and judge, judge, judge. It’s like a favourite pass-time or maybe even a sport!

man makes judging face.

Judging each other is nothing new. It’s part of our human nature. I think it’s like a survival skill. We need to know who is a friend and who is a foe and even 3-month old babies can read someone’s energy.

Quickly judging someone, rightly or wrongly, tells us if we can like and trust them, if we can feel safe with them, or if they’ll harm us or maybe even kill us. And with that assessment, we slap a big label on them and put them in a shoe box for future reference and treat them accordingly.

Often, the person being judged can suffer some consequences. Ultimately, I think that we fear being judged because it can literally mean a death sentence. Some people believe in a Judgement Day so that can tie into a fear of death. Also, if someone judges you, they can take away your livelihood and freedom.

When I was in high school, I read a book called, The Scarlet Letter by Nathanial Hawthorne — talk about judging! Set in Puritan Massachusetts in the 1640’s, poor Hester Prynne had to walk around with a big red A on her chest after she had an affair with a married man and became pregnant with her daughter, Pearl.

Can you imagine having to sew a red A for adultery on all of your clothes and say, “Hide your husbands everyone, Big A is coming down the street!” Thank goodness we’re not so strict anymore. Still, the judginess continues 400 years later…

As a highly sensitive person myself, I feel like I’ve been judged and criticized harshly all of my life. When I was growing up in the 1970’s, it seemed like the adults in my life (like my grandparents and teachers) only spoke to me when they needed to correct me about something — this time with big red X’s — and those criticisms were never sandwiched between compliments as they might be today.

Consequently, I interpreted their “well-meaning” words as “I’m not enough,” or “I’m not good enough,” or “they don’t like me,” or “there must be something wrong with me.” Not easy beliefs to live with to say the least.

By the way, did you know there’s a word for that?
Atelophobia is about the fear of imperfection and the fear of never being good enough, and by extension, the fear of being judged.

Who knew? Anyway, I also thought, well, “that’s how you treat people,” so I also became very critical of everyone I knew in my life, too. Needless to say, my opinions stated as facts didn’t go over well and I lost a lot of friends over the years. Not so much fun to be around. I’ve since worked on becoming less judgemental and not letting my ego run the show and I feel like I’m making good progress in that area.

But my fear of being judged still comes up every now and then.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been reminded of my beliefs about worthiness again. There’s an acquaintance in my life right now who is criticizing my every move and is bluntly and without care or sensitivity or warmth, pointing out all of my mistakes, making herself right and me wrong. She’s treating me like the adults did in my childhood! If only she could say something nice first, then I’d receive her “suggestions” better. Instead, I become defensive and I end up saying things that come out wrong and we clash and it’s not pleasant.

So I know what it’s like to be judged and criticized and it hurts. It’s hard not to fall into that trap of believing someone else’s opinion of you over your own.

I’m trying to remind myself, “Don’t let someone’s low opinion of you, lower your own opinion of you” and “Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone’s inability to see your worth,” and

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” Eleanor Roosevelt.

I can’t blame this acquaintance for how she’s making me feel. It doesn’t have anything to do with her. She’s just holding up a mirror. It’s all me which means I can change what I do next.

The good news is, the recent events in my life have inspired me to write this blog post and this situation is giving me the opportunity to challenge my outdated beliefs and clear them away once and for all!

woman kicking.

Spiritual Ideas to Make Peace with the Fear of Being Judged

  1. Practice Self-Care — If someone is giving you a hard time and is trying to push your buttons, do something nice for yourself (like get a massage or get your haircut or go for a long walk outside) and show yourself you care.
  2. Acceptance — The sooner you accept yourself as you are, accept others as they are, and accept the situation as it is, the sooner you’ll feel better.
  3. Forgiveness — Forgive everyone everything, especially yourself and anyone you feel is judging you. Let go of your past grievances because otherwise they may negatively affect your work (which would in turn create more judgment).
  4. Perfect is Boring — If you think being perfect will keep the judgers at bay, you’re not entirely off the hook. Some people are threatened by perfect people and other people will keep digging till they find some dirt. And striving for perfection is exhausting and if you do happen to be perfect, there’s nothing else left to do or learn anymore — no more room to grow — so what’s the point?
  5. Let Yourself Be Seen Anyway — Some people try to avoid being judged by hiding under the covers and staying home all day because it’s just too risky and dangerous to put themselves out there. But not going out into the world doesn’t work either because it’s a waste of our gifts and we’re here to share and help each other and shine our light.
  6. Lighten Up On Judging Others — Somehow, by not being so judgemental of others, others will not be so judgemental of you. When you find yourself making a mean comment about someone, ask yourself, “What’s that about?” We tend to judge people on what we think is important (like fashion or good driving) and if you catch yourself judging someone and ask yourself about it, you’ll gain some valuable self-awareness in the process.
  7. Relax Your Grip — Part of judging is trying to control other people. Don’t be so rigid about how people should behave or how things should be done. Everybody brings something different to the table and your way is not the only way. Give people a break and let them be who they are.
  8. Send Compassion Instead — The next time you see someone who doesn’t seem to be measuring up to your standards, send them compassion. They’re doing their best.
  9. Remember Your Sense of Humour — So what if you have spinach in between your teeth or if you’ve worn your shirt inside out in public — on the same day! 🙂 Turn your misadventures into funny stories that everyone can relate to and don’t take yourself so seriously.
  10. It’s All Just Feedback — I find if I look at comments as feedback and not criticism, it takes the edge off them. Also, if someone is judging you and telling you something you don’t want to hear, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re being mean. Next time that happens, remember it’s just feedback. You have the choice to accept their notes or not. But maybe, if you apply their observations to your life, it just might help you up your game and be a better version of yourself.
  11. It’s Not The Truth of Who You Are — Someone’s snap judgement about you is not the Truth (it’s an opinion at best) so don’t consume it like food and put it in your body and carry it around with you and give it meaning, especially if it feels bad.
  12. Labels Are Meaningless — We are not superficial labels of things. We are not our hair colour, we are not the cars we drive, we are not our jobs or our marital status, or the mistakes we make, or our accomplishments. The essence of who we are is so much more than packaging and appearances. We are human beings with tremendous potential!

Here’s a quote from Bob Marley about Perfection in a Relationship:

you're not perfect, he isn't either.

I hope this blog post helps but if you’re still struggling with the fear of being judged and you’re bouncing between perfectionism and avoiding being seen like I have, this is a topic we can work on in our wellness coaching conversations. Please contact me, Maria, if you’d like to talk about your options. I promise I’ll create a safe space for our meeting.

Wellness Coach Maria Koropecky.

Spiritual Guidance Available

Would you like to have some spiritual guidance on this topic? Consider signing up for a Free Crystal Mapping Session with Spa Therapist and Spiritual Wellness Coach, Maria Koropecky. Subscribe to this Crystal Clear Coaching blog and book your free Crystal Mapping Session today.

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