How to cope with judgment?
Being judged stirs up an unpleasant feeling. In fact, quite often, it has the potential to cause hurt and resentment that lingers for days, months, and even years. Most of the time, we tend to lash out at anyone who judges us; other times, we keep the anger inside for too long. We seem to be so sensitive to others people’s opinions of us. However, I believe there’s lots of wisdom that can come from being judged. This blog is dedicated to empowering you and helping you cope with judgment in the most constructive way.
There seems to be almost an evil intent behind someone’s opinion or judgment, but judgment always has the potential to help you grow, if you allow it.
Let me relate how I turned judgment to my advantage. I had shared before that I had a bad temper. I would snap back aggressively as soon as I felt judged by anyone. In the case of my family, I would rebel and go against the grain, even though, on the inside, I was often hurt.
During my youth, I was always criticized by my mother for exploding easily at strangers, such as an unkind cashier, and for asking to speak with managers on the phone so that I could complain about the customer service provided. I hated that she didn’t understand I was just trying to be assertive. I began seeing her as my enemy, and I grew resentful toward her. I felt attacked, and I would lash back.
In my work, it wasn’t any less stressful. I hated my boss for years because, in her yearly review of my performance as a supervisor at American Express, she dared to tell me that I spoke too fast. She also pointed out other more personal things, such as my dress code in my position as a supervisor for a larger team, and my lack of empathy for my teammates who were introverted, which, according to her, caused me to lose opportunities of advancement. I felt so mad. I was sure she was out to get me, perhaps because she didn’t like that I was assertive, or maybe she was racist, as I was from Mexico.
Years later, when I was about to get married to a German man, my best friend’s German husband, who had a high position inside a prestigious worldwide company and whom most would consider arrogant and tyrannical, warned me of the consequences of my decision. He gave a very negative forecast of how my experience in Germany would be. I felt judged and angry, and when I shared this with my mother, we judged him as an envious man.
Why are we so sensitive to judgment?
Today, I witnessed my young son covering his ears as soon as I tried to help him see my perception of what he could do better when he plays tennis. My 10-year-old daughter chooses to do the opposite when I’m trying to give her advice based on facts, like don’t use winter boots in summer. Why are we so sensitive to judgment? It’s as if being wrong is insulting and there’s nothing we need to learn. This is arrogance.
Looking back, I realize that most opinions and advice that I took as judgments had lots of truth, and, in most cases, they could have been so helpful and could have saved me from pain. If only I had been able to consider them, evaluate them, and take the best from them.
I was unaware that I had lots of anger and had become neurotic and tyrannical, lashing out at everyone in the street, thinking I was assertive. I hadn’t realized how much I was hurting myself through my anger. My mom was right with her observations.
In truth, I was speaking way too fast, and people were having a hard time understanding me. Today, I know the reason for my excessive speed was stress. My boss was right. If I had asked myself why I was stressed, perhaps I could have made my life healthier and more relaxed, but I chose to ignore it.
I experienced exactly what my best friend’s German husband warned me about. He was right and he was trying to tell me, but I didn’t listen. I learned my lesson the hard way and suffered.
Other people judgments are coming from old ideas and beliefs. For example, when a friend of mine divorced, her aunt told her, “I’m sorry for your failure.” Failure?
Thus, I don’t want to say that every time someone gives you their opinion, it’s correct, but feeling judged and closing your mind isn’t the wisest way to see it. When you feel judged, you don’t consider what others have said to you, because there are self-esteem wounds lurking around.
Judgment makes us feel that we’re wrong, and being wrong is perceived as humiliating. Perhaps we can change the perception of being wrong, maybe we can change it for an opportunity to learn and grow.
Many times, judgment comes from a simple belief, and not from actual facts. In this case, there’s no reason to feel pain; there’s just space for clarity.
Tips to Deal with Judgment
Creative self-questioning. We’re owners of the truth, but it’s deep inside of us. We’re just not used to going inside and asking for the source of wisdom; we tend to remain at the level of the superficial layers of the mind.
Ask yourself, “What is the person ‘judging me’ observing? What are the facts? In one sentence, what is the person trying to convey to me? Is the advice empowering in any way?”
Get creative here and ask yourself, “Will accepting the advice help me somehow, add value somehow to my person or life? Does it anger me? Do I feel the slightest sense of discomfort and why? Is there a wound that needs to be healed?”
Be aware you don’t have to follow what others say, but, instead, you may share with them the way you cope with suggestions. Take your time.
I firmly believe this is the most empowering and constructive way to cope with judgment. It’s time to grow.