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According to many researchers, the ONLY natural fears that we have when we are born are a) the fear of falling, and b) the fear of loud noises. Beyond that, everything else is a learned fear. If that is true, and we took the time to learn these fears, we can unlearn them.
What are you afraid of? Is it rational? How about the fear of being judged?
These five ways can help you unlearn that fear.
How To Overcome the Fear of Being Judged
1) Do the right thing.
When I was a young man, I would consistently be doing the wrong things. If driving, I would likely be speeding or not wearing a seatbelt. If I was spending time with my other underage friends, I would likely be consuming alcohol. My life revolved around finding ways to do wrong but not get caught.
While there was a certain excitement and exhilaration in these behaviours, it also created a deep-seated fear of getting caught. At those times when I was not speeding, and would see a police officer, I could feel my pulse accelerating. I would press down gently on the brakes. Even when I would be having a legitimate evening out with my friends, I would feel the need to lie about the activities just out of habit.
As I matured, I realized that if I simply did the right things, this fear of getting caught would also disappear. The same is true with the fear of being judged.
You should be judged for doing wrong. If you are playing hooky at work and get caught, you should have a consequence. If you lie to your spouse, they should be angry with you. This is by far the easiest way to overcome this fear of being judged.
Simply do the right things and then there will rarely be any reason for others to judge you. Even if they do make such an accusation, you will be able to honestly and boldly declare your innocence. There is great strength in this concept.
Once you have established a reputation for consistently doing the right things, others will typically assume that you are doing the right thing, even if accusations come your way. Do the right thing and you will quickly get over the fear of being judged.
2) Evaluate your motives consistently.
I have met many who do the right things on most occasions. But what about your motive? Why did you do what you just did? How often have you heard a public personality confess to some indiscretion and tell the world that they are sorry?
Most of the time, when I hear these confessions, it comes across as an apology for getting caught – and not fully sincere. The motive is not to make things right, but rather, to be able to get past the shame and let things get back to normal.
Every Thanksgiving, the news is full of politicians serving meals at homeless shelters and that is great. However, is it their motive to be seen and applauded as caring for the poor and gain a few votes? Some of these are sincere, but others will make you wonder. I do not write to accuse them, but simply to show some examples of good things that might be done for wrong reasons.
Establishing a pattern for self evaluation on your choices is a powerful tool to overcome the fear of being judged. The evaluation will reveal to yourself your reasons for helping someone. Are your motives noble, pure and praiseworthy?
Do more of good things and you will be training your heart, mind, and soul. This too, can set you free from the fear of being judged.
3) Surround yourself with rabid fans.
You are going to be judged. Every great leader who took a leap of faith, took a risk, has been judged at least in the short term.
When we are left to our own thoughts, the temptation to compromise and do things simply to get applause can become overwhelming. Finding folks who really believe in you and will support you even when you are being judged can be a great energizer.
When I was running my first marathon, I was in the last two miles or so. Back at mile 18, I had pulled a calf muscle so was struggling more than a little bit. My time for the run was nowhere near what I wanted it to be and I felt deeply discouraged.
But at that point, a family that I was friends with happened to drive by and cheered for me. It only lasted about 10 seconds or so. But that little boost pushed me to run full out the rest of the marathon. I had been judging myself for mistakes made on the run and these rabid fans had pushed me past that judgment.
It can work for you, too.
The more that you prepare for your life by establishing the right habits to get you to your goals, the less likely you are to be judged. As part of your preparation, you can also consider answers to the most likely judgments that you are going to face.
Consider these when you are in a good state of mind. Practice giving your answer in a calm and confident manner. When others come to point their fingers of judgment at you, it won’t take long to put out the fire with a solid, well-prepared answer. These answers also give you the strength to overcome the fear of being judged.
5) Be the best.
When you are simply the best at what you do, are you honestly going to be concerned with what other people think?
They might try to judge your style or your training, but if you win the fight, who cares. You won and they did not. Arm chair quarterbacks will always exist, but they look foolish when they are hurling their overweight, lazy advice at a proven winner.
There can be no fear when you win. The more you win, the more that you will be able to overcome the fear of being judged.
The fear of being judged, while not natural, is very common. Failure to overcome this fear can keep you from succeeding in life.
Every great accomplishment was done with the courage that overcame the voices of those who believed that it could NOT be done. Many of those voices actually come from the jealous and weak people who never take risks.
A battleship in harbor is generally pretty safe. As long as there is no battle, no one will judge the capability of that ship. However, if the battleship is to live up to its purpose, it must leave the safety of the harbor and risk judgment.
Do the same.