HOW TO AVOID FEELING JUDGED – THE POWER OF SELF-VALIDATION
Being a Rock is hard enough, without also feeling the judgement of others.
Because I have felt judged, I have found myself trying to justify my actions, often to complete strangers! Why?
I remember, not that long ago, I was finding things particularly challenging. Only a few close friends knew about Richards Depression, so I was feeling the pressure.
I was taking Patrick to a party for one of his school friends. It had been a hard morning and I totally lost it with the car park ticket machine and then shouted at Patrick. From the outside I looked completely unhinged, or so I thought!
Two of the school dads were standing close by and I thought I could feel them looking at me, judging me, perhaps thinking, “why is she getting so stressed about something so small, talk about over the top”.
I felt like I had to explain my tipping point to them and why. Explain that they hadn’t seen my morning from hell and that I was just about holding on at that point!
The funny thing is that on reflection I don’t think they were judging me at all! I think it was all in my head!
Why was I putting myself under that extra pressure to think I had to have their approval? That’s why we feel the judgement, because as humans, we seek approval and validation.
Just as we have physical needs, food water etc. we also have emotional needs and validation is a key one. It’s tied up with worthiness.
If we have validation, we are worthy, we have meaning, and we are liked and valued. Right?
If we are receiving someone’s judgement, we are not being validated and so we are no longer worthy.
Therefore, we take judgement personally when we feel it. It effects our emotional state deeply.
I think when you are a Rock this is felt more keenly, or we are more sensitive to it? Often, we are not getting validation at home, so we are more exposed emotionally.
So, what can we do to reduce the effect of judgement?
People are not going to stop judging (sadly), but perhaps we can stop responding to it.
Perhaps we can become enough without the need for external validation from others. Perhaps we can Self- Validate.
Why is someone else’s validation more powerful to us than our own? It’s down to confidence and self-belief.
This is the first step to letting go of the need for approval and moving away from feeling judgement.
SELF-BELIEF AND KNOWING YOUR PERSONAL VALUES
It’s important to know and understand your core values and have the strength to go with what feels right for you.
Values are ideas which we hold to be important. They govern the way we behave, communicate and interact with others.
It’s when we compromise these values that we look for validation from others. What we are looking for is approval of what doesn’t feel right to us, something we are unsure of. Therefore, we need validation from elsewhere.
STOP LOOKING FOR VALIDATION FROM OTHERS
This is learned behaviour and something which has evolved over a lifetime. It starts when we are children and look to our parents to validate our behaviour. Therefore, changing behaviours can take time.
There are psychological models on how to change behaviours, but let’s keep this simple.
To change your behaviour, you need to recognise what it is you want to change, in this case it’s seeking validation.
It’s helpful to recognise the situations in which we find ourselves looking for validation and question why. It’s also helpful to look at when we feel judgement and ask ourselves why we are feeling judged.
Often, it’s because the action we are taking or feeling judged for doesn’t align with our values.
For example, I felt judged by the two school dads because I was shouting, and I shouted at Patrick.
I felt their judgement because shouting doesn’t align with my values and therefore, I wasn’t validated. I had to seek validation from elsewhere. I was seeking validation against someone else’s values.
Recongnise and celebrate
Positive re-enforcement works wonders for changing behaviour, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
When you recognise that you are looking for validation and challenge yourself, give yourself a pat on the back. It’s a big win!
Over time you will find that you no longer need people’s approval and validation in the same way.
You will own your values and because your actions align with those you will be able to self-validate.
Ultimately people may still judge but it won’t matter.
I will leave you with the following quote from Brené Brown.
“Nothing has transformed my life more than realising that it’s a waste of time to evaluate my worthiness by weighing the reaction of the people in the stands”