No matter what your goals are, one of the biggest reasons why you’re not going after them is because you don’t want to be judged, explains personal development specialist Jacqui Sive. You’re worried about what people – your Mom, your Dad, your friends, your boss, Sharon from work – might think about you and your decisions.
Picture this for a minute
The year is 2094 and you’re 104 years old, on your deathbed, looking back at your life. You ticked all of the boxes – got a good job, maybe you bought a house, had a family, contributed to society in some way… But did you really live?
You dreamed of quitting your corporate job and starting your own business, but didn’t want to stress hubby out. You fantasised about buying a one-way ticket to India and joining a yoga ashram, but you were worried people would think you were nuts. Maybe you dreamed of starting a charity to care for street dogs… But you didn’t think your Grandfather would deem it a “worthy” job to have.
Whatever your dreams were, that’s all they remained… because you were too scared about what other people might think. The good news: You’ve still got time to make sure that isn’t how your story ends.
In my work, fear of judgement is one of the most common reasons women stay where they are. Here, three scenarios you might find familiar:
You’ve got “sister wounds”
Maybe you were bullied or teased as a youngster. Those experiences leave emotional scars, affecting the way you make decisions today. You choose options based on which ones are least likely to bring you pain.
Even though 20 years have passed, the hurt you experienced has caused you to build an invisible wall between you and potential pain, reducing your risk of experiencing it again.
You have a deep, primal desire to be accepted
Blame this on a part of your brain called the reptilian brain – yes, as in lizard brain. This sneaky part of your system has one goal: to ensure the survival of your species. In other words, this part of your brain’s only concern is to make sure that you find someone to mate with so you can reproduce.
To do this, you need to be ‘accepted’ by the greater community (and the opposite sex), so there’s this massive subconscious fear that if you do anything outside of the ‘norm’ (oh hi yoga ashram), you won’t be accepted, liked or loved enough to find a mate and reproduce.
This part of your brain is over 250 million years old… Seems a little outdated, right?
You place other’s opinions above your opinion of yourself
If you loved and valued yourself, would you allow the thought of another be more important than your own? No. That needs to stop. But how do you fix it?
Firstly, be clear about what you really want
Know what your goals are. That way, whenever you’re presented with an opportunity that might elicit judgement from others, you can ask yourself, What’s more important? Taking this action to get closer to my dreams, or wasting my time wondering about it?
Lean into the fear
Know that fear never disappears completely, so the trick is to learn to live despite it. The key to moving through fear is to lean into it. Know that the fear just means it’s out of your comfort zone – and that means you’re growing.
You are not a jar of Nutella, so you can’t make everyone happy
Trying to make everyone happy is far more exhausting than taking a positive action toward your goals.
At the end of the day, you can either be judged for doing what lights you up, for doing what makes you truly happy (and probably inspiring others to do the same), or you can be judged for being someone you’re not.
Only one of those options will leave you smiling at 104 years old.
Jacqui Sive is an international personal development specialist, global speaker and transformative live event leader. Follow her at @jacquisive for more!