Everyone feels or witnesses it at least once in a while−that aura of judgment from seemingly everyone around you the moment you reach your breaking point. It honestly could not appear at a worst time, but it’s human nature to question or criticize people when their lives no longer look perfectly stable. However, when you’re in between jobs or even homes and just looking for a sense of direction, hearing others’ judgments can push you back to square one.
To regain some of that power and remind yourself that you are in control of your own future, block out their noise and make note of a few simple guidelines:
1. Judge not.
Let’s start with the basics. Through karma or coincidence, people usually get back what they give. If you find yourself suddenly the center of others’ gossip and judgments, consider whether or not it might be someone’s bitterness or hurt feelings talking. While some people might not hesitate to judge others on the spot, it’s usually harder to judge someone who only has nice and supportive things to say.
Just as important, don’t let yourself be a victim of your own judgments. Sure, we all have negative and unsure moments, but letting this self-judgment become a regular practice inevitably turns into a dangerous habit. If you judge yourself, then it is so easy to hear others’ judgments in the smallest and most innocent remarks. Also, showing other people that you often judge and criticize yourself could invite their own harsh feedback. Just remember that if someone offers you their unsolicited two cents out of judgment rather than concern, it is probably worth only that.
2. You are a big deal.
The best advice I have ever received and probably ever will is that if it matters to anyone, especially yourself, it matters. Even if your concerns or insecurities aren’t life-threatening, don’t discount them so easily. Just like judging, ignoring your own value discourages others from seeing it as well. Sure, the relationship drama you might experience at work or school isn’t quite on the level of an international crisis, but it still matters. If anyone tells you to take a reality check, just remember that this is your reality. After all, if we are to find pleasure in the simple things, it should make sense that we also feel anxiety or heartache from the smallest of problems.
3. You don’t owe anyone answers.
When you sink deep into a depression or even just inside your own head, explaining yourself is probably the last thing you want to do. Maybe you don’t have the energy or, frankly, the desire to be misunderstood again. Feeling judged can easily lead people down this sinkhole, and validating your feelings should be the last chore on your to-do list. Sincerely responding to others’ judgments might make them stop, but only explain yourself if you genuinely want to. It’s really no one else’s business when you plan to take the next step or if you need to take a step back. Overall, as long as your situation doesn’t directly or negatively involve someone else, you don’t owe anyone anything.
4. Your insecurities are not another’s punchline.
No one should consider your struggles funny unless and until you laugh first. Be careful whom you confide in, especially if they have no intentions of taking your problems seriously. Your uncertainty should never be used as an easy joke or center of the rumor mill.
Note, though, that most jokes at your expense probably come from a place of innocent jest. Also, people whom you are close to will not make fun of your circumstances unless they believe you can tackle every obstacle in your way. Their humor, while horribly timed, might just be their vote of confidence. Of course, when you’re at your weakest is likely the worst time to be teased. What is harmless fun to someone might just become your breaking point. Who cares if others call you overly sensitive as long as you save yourself a little sanity? Remember that you don’t owe anyone an explanation as to why you’re not laughing, but this kind of response could save you from being a repeat punchline.