We’ve all been affected at some point in our lives by the fear of being judged.
I believe my fear of being judged was formed when I was eight years old …..
"..... I'm standing in front of the class, reading a page from a book out loud. I'm doing well. Now I reach a word that I just can't pronounce. I'm determined to say the word so rather than skip the word I keep trying to say it but keep stumbling . At first there are a few sniggers from the class but soon those sniggers are full blown laughter. I look up at the teacher for help but she's laughing too. I freeze. I'm embarrassed. My confidence is shattered like a broken mirror. I stand there mute, drowning in waves of laughter ..... "
At that moment my brain interpreted the situation as a threat to my self-esteem/self-worth and instantly stored this significant emotional event in my memory as a situation to be avoided in future.
The fear of being judged was to influence my life for the next 40 years, dictating my behaviour in both my personal life and professional life. Largely outside of my conscious awareness, my day to day decisions were based on how I perceived people might react to me, rather than what was in my long-term best interest.
An interesting fact about the fear of being judged is that people who have this fear, are often able to take extreme risks in situations where failure is almost guaranteed. This is because they believe the potential humiliation of failure is low because success is so obviously unlikely e.g. stepping in to run a project when you have little, or no, project management experience.
Meanwhile, these same people find themselves paralysed by everyday situations that involve only a moderate risk of failure. They become focused on avoiding the perceived humiliation failure will bring. And this paralysis and negative focus adversely impacts on their behaviour in ways that make failure more likely (e.g. become tongue tied, mind goes blank, body tenses up). This makes the fear of being judged a debilitating and self-fulfilling condition.
First acknowledge the fear and the choose to take action to overcome it
This week, in the lead up to the opening night of Late Night Puppets, I found myself reflecting on how much my life has changed for the better since I chose to take action to overcome that old, unwanted fear of being judged. My strategy for change included changing my mind-set and to keep pushing against the wall of my comfort zone through activities such as learning how to be an improviser.
My decision to change was made seven years ago, shortly after I began training to be a life coach. Until that point, I hadn’t realised that it was possible to change oneself from the inside out, but once I had that epiphany – I set the wheels of change in motion.
“When you change your thinking, you change your life.”
'Rewind' the fear of being judged
Over the last five years, I’ve helped many people whose lives have been blighted by the fear of being judged, overcome their fear. One of the most effective techniques in my 'tool box' for overcoming this, and other, fears is called the Rewind Technique. The technique is designed to re-educate the brain to feel comfortable with situations the same as, or similar to, the significant emotional event(s) that caused the initial imprinting of the fear response.
It's a wonderful, non-intrusive, safe and highly effective psychological method for freeing people from fear, including trauma and phobia related fear.
If the fear of being judged is holding you back from living the life you want and achieving the successes you desire, then the Rewind Technique could free you from the prison that fear has been locking you in. If you'd like to explore how I can help you overcome your fear, contact me on 021 056 8389, email firstname.lastname@example.org or use the Book Now button to arrange a no-obligation 30 minute consulation.
Wishing you a safe, happy week.
Tony helps individuals to harness the power of their mind to achieve success and well-being in life, work and business. Tony's particular area of expertise lies in helping people to 'change their minds' so they overcome limiting beliefs and unhelpful habits and gain freedom from worry, anxiety and stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).