“Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.” – Brené Brown
Do you Judge yourself so other’s won’t?
This may sound like a strange question, but many of us use this technique to avoid confrontation and showing up authentically. We shy away from showing the world our authentic self because it requires vulnerability, which is uncomfortable. Putting our thoughts, feelings, and opinions out into the world requires a hell of a lot of vulnerability, especially to do it confidently.
When we don’t show up authentically, we retreat from what we really want to say or do, based on the fear of judgement. By allowing what people might think of us to guide our thoughts and behaviors, it pushes us to make decisions with a sense of fear rather than by our values, which creates a feeling of shame.
So how do we recognize when we are judging ourselves so other’s won’t? Here are few clues:
- We tend to end statements with, “I don’t know”, or “maybe I’m wrong”, or “Does that sound crazy?” and then take a step back from participating in the conversation which immediately causes our presence and energy to shut down
- We allow the concern of how others might interpret what we are saying or our motives to alter how we show up
- We allow what others may think to impact our decisions more so than other factors such as our passion, integrity, and most importantly our values
- We create stories about what others think of us and allow the stories to take over our thoughts and emotions regarding the situation (You can check this one off, we all do it!)
Our brains naturally allow the above actions to take place because it is constantly trying to create short cuts and avoid pain, so creating stories based on past situations and preventing ourselves from being vulnerable is actually a protective measure created by our minds. The unfortunate part is how it controls us, without us even knowing it, and it’s often off base and leads us down a rocky path.
So how do we break this habit? And yes it is a habit, and one that can be broken! A quick cue that your subconscious is creating a story is that it will cause an emotional response, and not a response that feels good. We will quickly get worked up, or start beating ourselves up with negative thoughts and judgments. Start by acknowledging when you are feeling an intense emotional response to a situation, it’s a sign that one of our triggers has been pushed. Then take a moment to look deep into the thoughts that are surfacing and play devil’s advocate for a minute. How accurate are your thoughts and emotions about the conversation you are participating in? What is really bringing these feelings up?
We create stories out of the insecurities we feel and therefore interpret the situation with those at top of mind. You can bet that if we are judging ourselves harshly, we are also judging others harshly, and vice versa. So, recognize that the other person is likely unaware of our own insecure feelings and aren’t actually judging us at all. In fact, they may be doing the exact same thing to themselves, and more than likely are! The price of this behavior is hefty as we later realize we have cheated ourselves from being the person we want to be and living a life of fulfillment. We’re going through life with fear behind the wheel instead of love and acceptance for who we are, appreciating our differences, and the unique gifts we have to offer the world. But we have to show up! We are cheating the world, and most importantly ourselves, by not showing up authentically and confidently.
So, when in doubt; show-up, own-up, and be authentically you in all that you do – life is so much more enjoyable that way!
If this is something that you struggle with, I encourage you to reach out to me. I am offering a Free Coaching Session, and would be happy to discuss with you how coaching can help you to show up more authentically and stop judging yourself.
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” – by Theodore Roosevelt