Fear of judgement by others is an incredibly common obstacle to authentic writing. It can make it extremely difficult for us to say what we really want to say — and even if we do summon the courage to post something, it often creates extra anxiety around how it was received.
There’s always that one person we imagine reading our words and thinking something negative, judgemental or unfounded about us. But who are we really thinking about, in all of this turmoil? Well, it’s obvious, really: ourselves.
We’re worried about how we are coming across. Only natural, but it just exacerbates the problem.
The way to get out of this conundrum is to turn around and ask: what about the people judging? (And yes — someone is always going to dislike, criticise or think something harsh about your writing.)
Let’s think about these people for a moment. What does it feel like to judge someone?
It feels like you’re better than them. It’s a feeling of ill-will towards another.
In nearly every case, this ill-will comes from a place of personal insecurity or fear. Deep down, we all know this from our own experiences of judging people.
Perhaps your writing raises concerns that the judger is wrestling with themselves — or have suppressed and don’t want to face. People who are closed off can get very reactive towards those who are open and honest. Perhaps your confidence to produce something original and speak your mind trigger their own insecurities about (not) doing so. In most cases, it’s a simple of fear of the unknown, fear of the “other” that gives rise to a judgement.
Letting somebody else’s fear stop you doing what you want is madness.
In short: judging is not pleasant for the judger. So instead of being intimidated by these people, we should feel compassion for them, and keep writing for those people who do get something valuable from our words. They’re the ones that really matter.
We have literally zero power to change whether someone will judge us for our words. It has nothing to do with us. It’s out of our hands — so let’s get it out of our heads.