How to Deal With Judgment
We live in a world that loves to judge and criticize. We exist at a time where differences in beliefs and cultures have become a divisive tool to make us feel disconnected from one another rather than as one unified whole. But judgment is really a weakness that is only created out of fear, insecurity, and the ego's need to feel "right."
On a smaller scale, everyone of us has experienced one form of judgment or another in our lifetime. Whether it's because of how we look, who we love, or what we choose to do, we have all experienced negative feedback from others who either don't understand us or simply don't want to. So how do we build ourselves up to such a degree that no matter what anyone thinks of us we still feel just as confident and self-assured as ever?
Understand this: a judgment is not yours until or unless you accept it. That is, a judgment belongs to the person doing the judging unless you receive that judgment and accept it as your own. For example, if someone offers you a can of worms but you don't like or need worms, you would politely decline the offer, right? The worms then would still belong to the person who offered them to you in the first place. So the key to being unaffected by judgment is to simply not accept it if we don't want it.
Also as important, however, is to be confident in who we are and in the choices we make. If we ourselves feel unsure, be rest assured that this uncertainty will be mirrored back to us by the world around us. In order to overcome or, rather, not succumb to judgment we must be really confident within ourselves to the point where no one else's opinion of us really matters. Now this doesn't mean we need to be closed off from constructive criticism or unwilling to receive useful feedback. All it means is being able to distinguish between what is helpful and what is hurtful and then choosing only to pay attention to what serves us best.
Judgment is a form of bullying but the thing about bullies is that they usually step down when they see that their efforts to affect you aren't working. Bullies get a rise out of the reaction they receive from those whom they put down. They feel a rush of superiority, which is really a mask for their own insecurities. When people feel comfortable in their own skin and in their own lives they usually don't feel the need to humiliate other people. So when we choose to see those who judge us as people who are actually in pain themselves, we can start to realize that their comments really have nothing to do with us in the first place.
Judgment for this reason need not be taken too personally because most often it is a projection of someone else's insecurities and need to feel good about themselves. It's so much easier to point the finger and criticize others than it is to look at your own perceived shortcomings and do something about it. Furthermore, often those who judge others do so in order to make themselves feel "right" about their own choices in life.
You see, there are many people out there who are afraid to rock the boat. They have been living a certain way for so long that to admit that there is another, perhaps even better way can feel quite threatening. Imagine for a moment that you've believed your whole life that the world was flat and then one day someone comes up to you and says, "No, you're wrong, the earth is actually round." But you've based your entire life around that one belief, and all of your choices and decisions in your life to this point have come from that one main foundation. So now you feel threatened and fearful. You feel that changing your viewpoint will cause your whole world to crumble around you. So what do you do? You call the other person stupid. You say that they are an idiot. You mock their whole existence, how they dress, what they look like, what they do, all to try to break them down because it would be way too painful to accept that maybe there is another way of looking at the world. You don't want to admit to yourself that what you've been doing all your life might have been in vain. You certainly don't want to admit that another path might be easier or better. So you project that anger and insecurity onto everyone else so that you remain comfortable and unaffected by change. This is the path of judgment. It is not justified and it is not rational. It is simply based on false impressions, jealousy, fear, insecurity, closed-mindedness, and ultimately, pain.
So, now that you understand where judgment actually comes from it makes it that much harder to take it personally, doesn't it?