Does Fear of Judgment Change Your Social Behavior?

Does Fear of Judgment Change Your Social Behavior?

Fear of judgment creates doubt, insecurity and inaction

Concern for how others view us, and fear of judgment is not an irrationally held emotion. We are social creatures; we live in the confines of a community that has long-standing values and standard of acceptability. Placing too much emphasis on judgment by others is paralyzing and costly. Fear of judgment is an overblown emotion that you elevated into an unwarranted status. At all cost, discard fear of judgment and let go of the limitations that this creates.

It is easy for us to live in our minds in whip certain thoughts into a frenzy of emotions. We most often tend to over-inflate certain emotions when we allow them to take an unjustified place of importance in our mind. This usually happens during times of uncertainty when we place a high degree of importance on the outcome: the beginning or end of romantic relationships, before job interviews, and anytime we have a sense of insecurity or doubt and our path is not clear.

Fear of judgment is limiting; it creates inaction, paralysis and negative emotions. Eliminate it without a second thought. No one understands your inner monologue, motivations, desire or end-goal. In fact, most people either don’t really care, or they don’t have your best interests at heart. While it is rare that others have malicious intentions toward an outcome that is of importance to you, they don’t place the same degree of relevance on either the outcome or the process. By releasing your concern over how others view both your intended outcome and the process by which you arrive at your end-goal, you eliminate your fear of judgment.

Everyone has an opinion and most are free to place that on you as an unintended limitation to thought or action. It is up to you whether that opinion is motivating or limiting. As Napoleon Hill stated, “Opinions are the cheapest commodities on earth. Everyone has a flock of opinions ready to be wished upon anyone who will accept them. If you are influenced by “opinions” when you reach DECISIONS, you will not succeed in any undertaking.” The reality is that anyone can say anything, and what he or she says shouldn’t matter in the least, other than as a single data point against which you can make your broader decision.

When you have that gut-wrenching sense of being annoyed or irritated, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Why is this situation impacting me so deeply?
  2. Am I paralyzed by fear of judgment so much that I will not act or speak to address the situation?

How is this person affecting my emotional well being to such a great extent?

Change your mindset about the importance of other peoples opinions; get our of your head.

I was on a plane today sitting next to a lady who would not put her sun shade down and the sun was so bright that I couldn’t focus on reading my book. We were flying in a big cloud mass so there certainly nothing to see except the blinding white of the reflective clouds. As I started to become increasingly agitated, knowing that the other traveler could see nothing out the window, rather than being paralyzed by fear of judgment, I decided to change my emotional state by solving the problem myself. I reached into the seat pocket, took out the evacuation safety card and held it so it blocked the direct light. I was immediately relieved and felt my stress melting away. Why had I not thought of this earlier? Perhaps I did not want to be judged by her or the other passengers for being intolerant. Perhaps I did not want to give the other person the satisfaction of knowing that their behavior had so greatly affected me. Either way, the situation moved me to action to quiet my spirit.

So often we modify, of fail to modify, our behavior out of some fear-based emotion. We are afraid of judgment or possibly even repercussion. While it did not take much courage to overcome any social stigma that might be attached to my use of the safety card, other situations might demand courage to act: leaving a relationship; speaking out against popular opinion; standing up for oneself despite a history of verbal, mental or physical abuse all come to mind.

This life journey is short and ours to define. Part of our path to growth is identifying those moments of truth that impact our gut, spirit or emotions and immediately ask if our response, or non-response is out of fear of judgment. Those gut-check moments are when we must act decisively or we lose the lesson. The risk is that we build a habit, or routine, that makes it increasingly difficult to act decisively in our favor. I encourage everyone to take each lesson, regardless of how seemingly insignificant, and act immediately with a choice of empowerment. It will take only a few of such moments to shift one’s mental state, develop an increasing amount of courage and prepare for the inevitable moments in life that will demand an empowered response.


Have you had moments where you have chosen to not speak or act out of fear of judgment at your own expense?


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