Last year I interviewed a group of women between the ages of 35 – 50 who were all seeking more meaning in their lives. When we got to the question of what their biggest fear was, 8 out of 10 said this:
I was totally taken aback.
These talented women all have a unique set of skills. They are intelligent business owners, web developers, marketing managers, consultants, facilitators, graphic designers, and photographers. Yet, they held themselves back from actioning their purpose, because they were afraid of criticism. This fear of judgement from others had a paralyzing effect on their ability to embrace their potential.
If you too fall into this category, be reassured: there are practical ways to move through this fear of judgment.
WHY DO WE JUDGE?
Despite our best efforts, we all judge from time to time. Judging another provides a false sense of superiority: we position ourselves as appearing right and the other person wrong by default. The impact of doing this causes separation from love.
Have you ever tried to judge and experience love in the same moment? It’s impossible! These two feelings are at the opposite ends of the emotional spectrum, which means when we judge, we turn our back on love.
WHERE DOES JUDGEMENT COME FROM?
Judgment arises from fear: the fear of “not being enough” which is a common affliction among people.
When projecting judgement onto another, we get a reprieve from facing feeling unworthy or unlovable because our energy is focused externally. This respite is short-lived, however, and to prolong the experience, we must continue to judge. Judging then becomes an addiction, rather than a choice.
WE ARE OUR OWN BIGGEST CRITIC
When we judge internally, we get stuck in survival emotions like shame, comparison, fear, anger, or resentment, rather than compassion, appreciation, love or happiness.
We are most judgemental of ourselves when we are invested emotionally and energetically in something big like our purpose. Your inner critic might say; who are you to be creative, magnificent or successful? Who are you to live a life of meaning and purpose? As Marianne Williamson challenges us:
FOUR PRACTICES TO MASTER THE FEAR OF JUDGEMENT
Now that we understand the origin and anatomy of judgement, how can we overcome the fear of it and gain the confidence to express our purpose?
Below I have listed four practical and easy to implement steps.
1. I Am Enough
Put this affirmation everywhere. Write I AM ENOUGH on your mirror in bright red lipstick, make it your screen saver, set pop up reminders on your phone. Place it anywhere you will see it a lot.
This can feel cheesy! But here’s the thing: when we intrinsically know that we are enough, we begin to embody a quiet confidence that knows it’s safe to share our purpose with others.
2. Meet your judgement
This is the practice of catching yourself mid-judgement. Not in a berating manner, but in a gentle and mindful way. It’s a matter of recognizing when we’ve slipped into a judgemental mindset and then consciously choosing to let it go.
3. Own your inner-critic
Yes, your inner critic will have you doubting yourself, questioning your worthiness, comparing yourself to others. The trick is not to give your inner-critic the power to dictate your life but to get on the field, despite it.
4. Accept that people are going to judge you regardless
If we’re going to get ‘on the field’ and ‘play full out,’ we will experience criticism – its part of the deal. It pays to remember, however, that the majority of people who judge others for sharing their purpose are stuck on the sidelines of their lives, too scared to get on the field themselves.
The key is not to let the critics be your reason for keeping yourself small by asking yourself this question:
At the end of your life, what would be worse?
1. Knowing that you played full out and shared your purpose with the world even though you exposed yourself to the likelihood of being judged?
2) Knowing that you protected yourself from the probability of judgement but never really got on the field, to begin with?
Putting something out into the world that you’ve created can be a terrifying experience. Especially something as important and meaningful as your purpose.
However, living a life without meaning or purpose is more terrifying!
You’re not meant to keep your purpose to yourself. You’re meant to find it and share it with others.
Originally published at www.sarahmcgahan.com