I’ve had a really rough last 10 years. Everything that could go wrong has. I know it looks like I’m not performing very well from the outside but, all things considered, it’s a miracle I’m doing as well as I am. People here in Utah have been very quick to pass judgment on me. I don’t feel much compassion or understanding in regards to my situation. People think they know me and judge me, but they have no idea what a good person I actually am. How do I stay positive in spite of this?
Unfortunately, judging other people is an innate tendency in all of us, but you can learn to see yourself and other people more clearly, understand their behavior better and totally change the way you let their judgments affect you.
Here are some principles to help you do that.
Principle 1: When other people judge you, understand that it’s not really about you. It’s about their fears.
We, as human beings, have a tendency to focus on the bad in other people because it subconsciously makes us feel better about ourselves. Sometimes we focus on (perceived) bad in other people because we want to help them change, because that would make us feel better about ourselves, too.
I want you to understand how and why people do this so you can see their behavior accurately (for what it really is). When you can see it is about their need to feel better, it won't hurt you anymore.
I want you to understand that their bad behavior (self-righteous judging) is about their fears about their own value. It is not about you. People around here have a lot of fears about not being good enough. They believe they have to be nearly perfect to be okay. Their unrealistically high standards can produce a lot of fear, and they often project these fears onto you.
I wish I could repair their self-esteem and take away their fears, so they had the capacity to be more loving and accepting, but I can’t. So, we are going to have to change the way you experience their inaccurate judgments instead.
Principle 2: What other people think of you doesn’t really mean anything.
Because they think it doesn’t make it true. What they think doesn’t change who you are, either. It doesn’t take away from your value. It doesn’t do anything. It is absolutely meaningless. You are the same you, no matter what they think.
This means there is nothing to fear, and if there is nothing to fear, then you shouldn’t let it bother you.
Principle 3: They don’t really know who you are, where you’ve been and what you’ve been through.
I was walking very slowly down my street yesterday, dressed in workout clothes. A man came jogging towards me from the other direction. As he passed me, he laughed and said in a nasty tone “You’re going to have to pick up the pace, to get any benefit from being out here.”
He was making fun of me because he thought my slow walking was my workout, and he actually felt the need to tell me I wasn’t doing it right. What he didn’t know, and couldn’t know, was that I had just finished a three-mile run and was walking slow to cool down.
His snide remark didn’t hurt me though, because I knew the truth about myself. I knew that I was doing the right thing for me, in that moment. There are many times in life where you (and God) are the only ones who know the truth about your situation, and sometimes that has to be enough.
You know the truth about who you are. Hold onto that.
You get to decide how you will value yourself. Don’t give that power away to anyone else. Own your goodness and claim your value. Claim it so tightly that no person and no situation can ever take it away from you again.
Principle 3: Where you have been was a location on your journey, it is not who you are.
Life is like a road trip. You may spend days driving through Texas, you may even get a flat tire and get stuck there for a while. But that doesn’t change who you are. It doesn’t make you Texan. Texas is just a location on your journey.
You will also go through some rough times in life, you may even get stuck there for a while, but that rough period doesn’t define who you are. It is an experience or location on your journey, it isn’t you. The rough times in your past don’t make you a bad person. They were interesting learning experiences you had. Your good heart and your love for God and other people is who you are.
You can’t let any situation or location in your past define who you are.
Principle 4: What others think of you is none of your business.
It is a waste of your energy to spend one minute worrying about it. Instead, spend your time focused on loving people, working hard and being the best, real you.
Worrying about what other people think of you is a hard habit to break, especially when you’ve been doing it your whole life, but you can do it. Remember and review these principles of truth. Write them on cards and post them around your house. Repeat them over and over until your subconscious mind gets it.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is the founder and president of www.ldslifecoaching.com and www.claritypointcoaching.com. She is a life coach and speaker who specializes in repairing and building self-esteem.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.