“Life is better when you do what makes you happy regardless of what others think. It’s not their life, it’s yours.” – Sonya Parker
Judging people and situations is a habit most humans engage in unconsciously.
We are constantly defining, criticizing, categorizing and labeling things as either good or bad, based on our limited perspective and opinion, which often, has nothing to do with the truth of the person or situation.
Many of us, myself included, have fallen victim to the judgments of others, wherein, we give immense importance and value to their opinions, over the opinions and value we have of ourselves.
This is a mindset and behaviour that originated in our childhood. As children, we were viewed as blank canvases, which were considered to not have the capacity to choose or have an opinion.
As such, the adults and influential voices in our lives, told us what to do, when to do it, how to do it and what was right and wrong, often conveyed using rewards and punishments. This approach to childrearing often left very little room for independence of thought or personal opinions or preferences.
Overtime, we grew to understand that other people’s opinions were important and to a large degree, superior to our opinions, especially the opinions we have of ourselves.
While this association started in our childhood and may have served us at that time, it followed us into our adulthood, leading to several unwanted and unserving side effects.
The fear of being rejected, the dimming of our lights, shying away from being seen, living other people’s lives, not being our authentic self or not living our authentic life, self-loathing, self-doubt and insecurities are all results of subjecting ourselves to the judgments of others.
How then do we reverse this unserving pattern that has the potential to limit us and create disharmony within?
By first acknowledging that you are unable to escape the judgments of others. People will talk about you, no matter what but if you learn how to overcome the fears of being talked about, it will serve to help you stand firm in your personal power, giving yourself permission to be who you choose to be and living life as you desire.
As mentioned previously, subjecting yourself to the judgments of others is considered deep conditioning, originating from our childhood. However, with practice and conscious self-reminders, transcending this limitation is possible.
Here are six ways to help you overcome the effects of being judged:
Deeply and completely, love and accept yourself – When you deeply and completely love and accept yourself as you are, where you are and as you are, someone else’s opinion of you becomes irrelevant, especially if it does not align with your truth.
If you are unable to love and accept who you are now, this becomes a perfect recipe for being tormented by the opinions and ideas of others, which leads to being easily swayed by their judgments.
However, when you are standing in your personal power, secure and confident in yourself, as a powerful, brilliant, divine being, other people’s verdicts are seen simply as that, their opinion.
Another person’s opinion of you has nothing to do with the truth of who you are – When you remind yourself that another person’s opinion, even if it’s about you, belongs to them and has nothing to do with you or the truth of who you are, you release yourself from the plagues of being judged.
Everyone is entitled to their opinions, beliefs, perspectives and notions. We are all individuals with varying viewpoints, which is more or less a mental position that was formed, based on acquired information at the time and our perception or interpretation (which is subjective).
This therefore means that a person’s opinion is not factual; neither is it necessarily true and therefore should be treated as such. Remembering this important fact reinforces your resilience against the judgments of others.
Embrace the fact that you are continuously growing and expanding and will make mistakes but can choose to learn from them. – Our fear of making mistakes can often limit us, which then places us in the line of fire, to succumb to the judgments of others. If we judge ourselves each time we make a mistake or fail at something, we are essentially inviting others to do the same.
However, if we acknowledge the fact that mistakes are a part of our learning and growing process and welcome them, we diminish room for judgments from ourselves and from others.
Stop seeking validation and approval from others and be contented with the validation and approval of yourself – Seeking validation and approval from others, is a side effect of our inability to validate and approve of ourselves.
Somewhere along our journey, we would have learnt to not value ourselves, or see ourselves as unworthy or not enough. This would have then led to us seeking to be appreciated and recognised by others and not ourselves.
This of course, makes us vulnerable to the judgments and criticisms of those we seek validation and approval from.
Recognising your worth and value is an inside job. Depending on others to do a job that was meant for you, sets you up for disappointment and pain. However, when you take complete responsibility for you and learn to validate and approve of yourself, you evade the side effects of someone else’s judgments.
Establish healthy boundaries around the feedback you choose to receive from others – Feedback from others is important and beneficial in supporting our growth and expansion. However, helpful and healthy feedback should always be encouraging, nurturing and grounded in love.
Feedback that is condemning, derogative and abusive, which are all judgments should never be tolerated from anyone, no matter who they are.
Creating and communicating healthy boundaries around the feedback you are open to receiving, will ensure that people are aware of what is accepted and what isn’t.
It also helps you to maintain your personal power and truth.
Stop judging yourself and others and apply love instead – Judging someone or something, while habitual, is a practice that limits our experience with the person or situation. Based on our personal decision to label or define another person, we cut ourselves off from potentially learning more about the person or experiencing the person fully.
This narrow approach also applies to how we treat ourselves. When we conclude and determine that as a result of certain conditions, our potential for more or something different is impossible, we confine ourselves to a mental and emotional prison.
When we stop ourselves from judging and instead apply love, we are acknowledging the fact that everyone, including us, is on a journey of growth and evolution. We are then encouraged to accept and embrace others because, just like us, they too are growing and learning and doing their best.
Additionally, when we embody and live the qualities of what we want to experience, in this case love and acceptance, we set the tone for others to follow based on our example.
Giving yourself permission to be uniquely and authentically you, despite how it might be received by others is true freedom. It is a freedom you get to choose in each moment, by being resilient and affirmative in your truth about yourself. It is the freedom to be, act, think, make mistakes, learn from them, change and transform, all towards being the best you possible.