- “Am I looking bad?”
- “Do they think I am weird?“
- “Do they think I am a loner?“
- “They must be seeing me as a failure.“
- “Am I making sense?“
- “I am not good enough?“
To have such thoughts in one’s head, can be too tiring and self-destructive. These thoughts stem from a deep-rooted fear of judgment.
What is fear of judgment?
We, as human beings, always have a tendency to judge people and situations around us. This judgment helps us make a better picture of the person or situation in front of us and this, in turn, helps us to make better decisions.
However, there are certain times when these judgments can turn against us. As a result, one can have a tendency to worry too much about what other people think of him/her. Who these people are can vary from person to person. For some, these people can be family members, classmates, or colleagues while for others they can be friends or even strangers sitting on the next table in a cafe. This tendency is termed as the fear of judgment.
How does this fear function?
The fear of judgment is a constant tension going on in the background regarding, ” What do others think about me?” As soon as the person enters certain social settings, this fear of judgments sets in and creates a bunch of rather confusing thoughts about how others are perceiving him or her, like:-
- “Am I boring?“
- “They must be thinking I am not very intelligent.“
- “They must be thinking I am from a poor family!“
- “Should I speak? What if they laugh at me?“
At the surface level, it might seem like as if the person is fearing the judgments of other people. But if one observes closely, these judgments are nothing but negative self-talk that occurs within the person. The source of all these judgments is not the other people. Rather, they stem from one’s own belief about oneself. These very beliefs make people judge and label themselves. They may then start to feel that the whole world thinks about them in the same way!
For example, if one feels that other people are judging the person to be boring, the reality of the situation is that one is judging oneself to be boring!
How to overcome this fear of judgment?
To overcome this fear, one needs to dwell deeper into the root cause of this fear. At the root of this fear lies low self-esteem.
This low self-esteem can be there due to many reasons, for instance:-
- Not getting enough appreciation from parents
- A big failure
- Poor economic conditions
- Poor emotional environment
- Lack of parental support
- Unrealistic parental expectation
- Bullying or made fun of by peers
- Emotional hurt
- Not being able to fulfill one’s own expectations
- Any sort of abuse (physical, emotional, sexual)
To overcome this fear of judgments, one’s low self-esteem, as well as their perception of self, need to be worked upon. Once these three are in sync with the reality of the situation and are stabilized, the person can live with high levels of confidence and self-worth!
We may thus conclude that fear of judgment makes one worry constantly about what others think of him or her. However, these patterns of negative self-talk stem from one’s own experiences and perception of oneself. This may lead to low self-esteem and a highly negative perception of self.
Nevertheless, the fear of judgment can be removed by working on the aforementioned factors.
If you know someone whose fear of judgment is interfering with their life, connect them to the help they need by contacting mental health professionals from Mind Solace.