Naturally, as humans, we want the world to see us as competent, attractive, and impressive; we don’t like it when what we do or who we are is judged negatively. This seems pretty obvious, but it becomes a problem when our fear of judgment from others impacts how we live our lives. The root of feeling afraid of judgment comes from wanting to be liked all the time by everyone and not rejected ever (via Psychology Today). This is, of course, impossible.
But it can be easy to get too focused on whether people like us and use other people’s acceptance to validate our decisions and our self-worth; we may focus on the fear of not being enough in someone else’s eyes (from Thrive Global). We may be scared that our ideas will be considered silly, or be convinced people will think we’re awkward or weird. So to prevent potentially being judged negatively, we may not open up to the world with our ideas and ourselves.
An extreme fear of judgment from others can become problematic and severe and could be a diagnosable social anxiety disorder, as noted by the National Institute of Mental Health.
We'll be judged by others, but we need the self-confidence to know we're enough
We’re often our own worst critics, and we may then assume that whatever negative thing we think about ourselves, other people will think that too (from Creative Live). And research published in the “Journal of Personality and Social Psychology” has shown that our brains respond to negative input more strongly compared to positive input; it turns out, we’re wired to focus on more negative stuff. It’s all too easy to get caught up in that negative anxiety of potential judgement, fearing being “found out” as not good enough by others if we don’t have the self-confidence to know that we’re enough.
But there’s really no way to never be judged by others; it’s going to happen and we can’t control what others think (from Psychology Today). We can work to control how we think about ourselves, though. Tackling the fear of judgement is making sure that validation comes from within and not from external sources. Being compassionate with ourselves and filtering out our own negative self-judgement will help lessen the fear of judgement from others (from Business Insider).
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