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Dealing With Judgment from Others

How to Live Life Without Apologies

“Can you look without the voice in your head commenting, drawing conclusions, comparing, or trying to figure something out?” 

― Eckhart Tolle

A lot of us fear judgment from others. Whether it be our friends, family, co-workers or anyone else, there is always the fear of thinking others judge us based on how we present ourselves.

We fear judgment because of our appearance, job title, or even what type of car we drive. People judge everything―gender, race, height, clothes and hundreds of other things. If it is something others can judge, we fear that judgment.

And, to be honest, you ARE being judged. Everyone judges everyone and everything.

You judge others even though you may believe you don’t. You judged the person in the first picture of this article with the tattoos. The initial impression you got from the picture formed a judgment in your mind.

You are judging me right now based on what you’ve read so far. Seeing my articles, picture, and other information available from social media leads you to believe you have a good idea of who I am. You assume you know things about me which may or may not be true.

But, you don’t know me, who I am or what I am about based on any of that.

But you judge anyway. I do it too. Everyone does.

The Normal Path

Photo by Mark Duffel on Unsplash

We are taught from birth to do the same thing as everyone else. Go to school, get a job, get married, have kids, retire, then die. This “normal” path is the way to security and happiness. Or so we are told.

Success is defined by money, titles, a big house, and expensive cars. The school system churns out workers and robots. We do the same things over and over because we are told this is how we are supposed to live.

Joining the “rat race” and getting caught up in the absurdity of the 5 day work week is common. We spend hours in traffic to get back and forth to jobs we hate, only to do it because we have to be “successful” and make money. And we do this during the best times of our lives on the bet we will live long enough to make enough money and retire.

If you make it to retirement.

We follow this path because it is what everyone else expects and we are afraid of being judged if we go against it. Many times we do things we don’t want to because we are afraid of going against the grain. We are afraid of being judged for being different.

But if you are happy not doing what everyone else does, then it is alright to not follow the crowd. It is okay to do what makes you happy.

Your version of happiness is the only one that matters.

There is nothing wrong in not conforming to the mainstream’s ideas of what is supposed to make you happy.

Even if you are being judged.

The Need To Conform

Photo by Ben Weber on Unsplash

Along with the “normal” path, there is an underlying need to conform with others. It is alive and well in our actions, our appearances, and just about everything else in society. There are rules and laws we should all conform to for the betterment of society, yet everything else should be an individual choice.

But, what do you gain from conforming? Is it acceptance? Less stress? Happiness?

Why do we feel we need to conform to others ideas and expectations? Are we afraid of being different from everyone else or is it easier to follow the crowd?

Or is it because you are not judged as harshly when you conform?

These are questions that are difficult to answer. Everyone has their own reasons for doing what everyone else does. Yet if we were to sit down and think about why we do what we do, the reasons may be unclear.

Most people will not admit they have no idea what they are doing. Most people are not willing to say they are clueless about life and are just following the crowd.

But, there is such a strong urge to be accepted and fit in, many are ruining their happiness for the comfort of not being judged.

The Judgment Free Zone

Photo by Justyn Warner on Unsplash

“We can never judge the lives of others because each person knows only their own pain and renunciation. It’s one thing to feel that you are on the right path but it’s another to think that yours is the only path.”

― Paulo Coelho

I’m sure you’ve heard of Planet Fitness. They stress their gym is a judgment free zone. I’ve never been in one, but the atmosphere is supposed to be encouraging and supportive. And most of all, judgment free.

That’s impossible. Even in a place which encourages no judgment, it is everywhere. There is no such thing as a judgment-free zone.

No matter what, you are being judged by your peers, your family, friends, and co-workers. You are being judged by people on the internet and strangers around you.

Whether you do a good job, a bad job, follow society’s expectations or go against the grain, you are being judged.

Everyone has an opinion on what you should do or what you should be. And they are judging you no matter what you choose.

It’s Fine To Be Different

Photo by Pana Vasquez on Unsplash

Getting over the fear of judgment is difficult. I struggled with it for years. I’m not over the fear, but increasingly I am seeing it doesn’t matter what others think or believe.

To put it bluntly, I don’t give a shit anymore about being judged because no matter what I do, I will be judged anyway. People will judge you and me no matter what you do or who you are.

You can’t control them or their thoughts. You might as well live your life the way you want without worrying about what other people think. Even if we know someone does not like us, who cares? If someone has a problem with you, always remember it is their problem, not yours.

If you will be judged regardless why not do WHAT you want and be WHO you want?

Would you rather make yourself or others happy?

Don’t be afraid of being happy or being yourself. Be more concerned about what YOU think about yourself. Take the pressure off of yourself to make others happy. It is not your job. You don’t have to apologize to anyone for who you are.

You also don’t have to experience life like everyone else does or like you’ve been told to. Don’t live for the approval of others. It is okay to do something different from what is expected. It is also alright to not follow the normal path.

No one has to live your life but you. No one can make you happy but you.

But if you let judgment from others control what you do, you’ve lost.

So do what you want. Do what makes you happy. Because you will be judged, anyway.

My Ko-fi button


  1. Stone Stone

    Wonderful article Jeff. Came across this in a time of judgement and it made me feel good about my life and the choices I’ve made.

    • Glad it was able to help! I appreciate you reading and commenting.

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