I'm sure we've all been judged somewhere along the line - by strangers, acquaintances, friends and even our family. It never feels very good when somebody has a bad impression of us, and it's very easy to become obsessed with what others think. Does she think I look fat in this outfit? Do they find me annoying? Maybe he thinks I'm unintelligent.
It can be extremely exhausting to constantly think about these sorts of things, and run around trying to be liked by others. In this blog post, I'm going to tell you how to survive judgement. It is possible to live your life without getting negatively affected by other people's comments.
When somebody is judging me, the first thing I tell myself is that it's just their space. People think and say things based on their own experiences and what's going on in their life.
Example: Someone who is constantly pressured by her mom to look perfect is probably going to judge people who don't wear make-up.
If somebody has always lived in a certain environment, it's very rare for them to see a situation with a different perspective. If they haven't been exposed to another way of thinking, how can you expect them to behave any differently?
Thoughts and opinions also change all the time. I know that I'm not the same person that I was a year ago. I'm not even the same person that I was yesterday. People's mindsets change as they go through various experiences and grow.
I've judged a number of people in my life before because in those moments I've viewed the situation in a narrow minded manner. In Grade 6 or 7, there was this girl in my school who was extremely free spirited, theatrical and outgoing. I used to laugh at her and talk behind her back because I thought it was weird how she would randomly do Johnny Bravo impressions in the middle of the corridor.
Today that girl is one of my best friends and I have a completely different opinion of her. It's extremely courageous to show your authentic side to the world, even when people are laughing at you. She has always been true to herself, focusing on her own happiness and now this is something I really admire.
I'm not humiliated or angry with past Jess for being so close-minded and judgemental. I was a different person back then and hadn't yet gone through the experiences that would later force me to open my mind. I was also shy and insecure, definitely not in the place to confidently do a Johnny Bravo impression in front of everyone. I think we sometimes judge and belittle qualities in others that we secretly admire. I wanted to be confident but was too scared to take that leap. Instead of focusing on achieving that goal, I tried to convince myself that being confident was weird and not something I wanted to be. It was just an excuse to get out of stepping out of my comfort zone.
So the opinion someone has of you today, may disappear tomorrow. Keep that in mind. It does involve a lot of growth for someone to reach the stage where they can put their own bias aside and put themselves in your shoes. Have patience with people. We're all learning.
Another thing I like to tell myself is that other people don't actually have control over me.
Example: Somebody says that I won't amount to anything in life because I'm too book smart. This comment is shared after they see 89% on my test.
Now I have 2 choices in this situation. Either I go home, think over and over about what the person said, and then by the end of the night agree. I then spend the rest of my days, feeling insecure, not willing to take risks or step out of my comfort zone because somebody said my book smartness was a weakness.
On the other hand, I can say: “Getting 89% on a test is not just because I'm book smart. It took dedication, hardwork and perseverance. I also have vision and am able to see where getting 89% on tests can get me. These are traits I'm proud of, and they're going to serve me my whole life on my quest for success.”
With this attitude, I look out for opportunities to grow. I am confident in everything I do because I believe in myself. I live up to my potential.
I find it sad how often we choose the first option. Somebody has a negative opinion about us and we lower ourselves as a result. The absurd thing is that most of the time, the negative comment comes from a stranger or acquaintance. Why should their opinion carry so much weight? They don't know you and they don't know everything that has happened in your life. Chances are extremely high that their opinion is inaccurate.
The only person who has to believe and support you, is you. The whole entire world could be against you, believing that you're going to fail, and yet you're the only person who decides whether that becomes a reality or not. You're also the only person who has to like yourself and your actions. If you feel happy, it doesn't matter what the person down the road thinks. Other people don't get to decide your life. You do.
The next time someone judges you, I urge you to stop and assess the situation. Who is the person who is commenting? Is there something happening in their life that would cause them to say these things? Are their words true? Do they have power over you?
That, my friends, is how you survive judgement.