My husband recently acquired a new Christmas jumper. Yes, this is him modelling it in the picture!
He wears it everywhere. Dropping little one off at school, to shopping, to the cinema, at restaurants. EVERYWHERE!
And not only is the jumper visually…well, let’s say flamboyant, the eyes also light up and it plays the Darth Vader theme. I kid you not!
A few years ago, I would have been mortified. Incapable of walking alongside him while his belly was trumpeting the Imperial March.
A few years ago, I would have been so embarrassed that I wanted to crawl and hide in a hole somewhere. My face would have been bright red with shame. I would have looked around anxiously, horrified of the judgement in the eyes of the passers-by.
And I would have been furious with my husband for putting me through it all. Intentionally! I would have blamed him and resented him for my suffering.
But today, I think it’s hilarious. I am actually considering getting one for myself. Because I learned two crucial truths in the past 10 years that made all the difference.
Why fear of judgement is a waste of a good life
Throughout my early 20s, fear of judgement was my constant companion. I couldn’t go out for a meal with other people for fear they would mock the way I chewed my food. I never voiced my opinions for fear of being ridiculed for my views on the world.
I suppressed my interests and passions (such as crochet, energy healing and Sci-Fi/fantasy movies) because I thought others might find them unacceptable and embarrassing. And I can’t even imagine how much fun, joy and life I missed out on because I was too scared people would disapprove and judge me for being an awkward misfit.
But my predicament was based on two misconceptions:
1. I was convinced that every person I met automatically judged me
I thought that they could see my worthlessness. As if I wore a jumper with the words “I am inferior to you” written in massive, neon-coloured letters all over it.
I believed that they all judged me for my pathetic, little existence. “Look at her! She is an embarrassment, a complete failure. Not worth our time. Let’s all make fun of her.”
But the truth is that what we believe people think about us and what they actually think are two totally different things. Yes, we are all prone to judging others. It appears to be a normal human trait. We all do it.
But, if we imagine that everybody always judges us negatively, we are superimposing our own beliefs about ourselves on others.
2. I believed that I was inferior to others
When we feel worthless, undeserving and inferior, we tend to believe that every person in the world thinks about us the way we do.
In reality, 99% of people we meet will NOT believe we are embarrassing, worthless or a failure. This is just fear of judgement talking. And fear of judgement originates in self-judgement. Which is a consequence of low self-worth. So, the only way to overcome self-judgement and a constant feeling of shame and embarrassment is by healing our self-worth.
Once we know that we ARE worth personified, that we are equally as worthy, lovable and deserving as any other person, we can start to enjoy life. Do the things we want, rather than what we think might be most accepted by others. Truly be ourselves, instead of playing a sad act to avoid judgement.
And wear silly jumpers if we feel like it!
So, repeat after me: “I AM worth”. Because that’s the only truth that matters. And if anybody ever disputes it, just tell them “Bah humbug!”
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