Don’t Judge Me!

Today’s topic is judgement. I wanted to write about it because fear of being judged is something that weighs on me constantly. But maybe we should expand the scope the of the entry to me passing judgement too, in addition to receiving it. To be clear, I am fully convinced that neither, judging nor being judged, is a good use of attention or energy. Nothing ground breaking there. But yet again, I know something is against my interest yet I do it anyway. Frustrating. Is this what they mean when “human nature” is thrown around?

It’s Friday, let’s try something fun. I am going to try and embed a YouTube video. This might not work because I am writing these entries in Notion (as a tab in Safari), and then I usually paste directly into WordPress when it’s time to get it posted. I’m not sure if the embed is going to copy over properly, but there’s only one way to find out! Pause for a quick YouTube search.

Well that wasn’t too hard! Maybe 15 seconds of effort. The command in Notion, for those of you who are interested, is slash embed. Now we’ll just have to see how it copies over – what a cliffhanger. Tune in next week. Or tomorrow in my case. But this little test is noteworthy, at least from my perspective, since we’re a true multimedia experience now. I was worried that this content might be a little dry. Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you think the essays would be more compelling if I allocated ten minutes to adding in pictures, gifs, memes, or video? Let me know what you think. Your feedback is valuable.

Ok, back to the matter at hand. I am terrified of being judged. Across groups, and across all areas of my life. I am always worried about what other people are thinking about me. As I mentioned above, I know this is a waste of energy. First and foremost because, who cares? Most of those opinions aren’t going to have any impact on me whatsoever. And second, I think my fears are largely overblown. Nobody is thinking about you as much as you might imagine, because they are too busy thinking about themself! Duh, But I still do it. Who do I fear judgment from?

  1. Family – I’ll take responsibility and own my fear, but I have to say this was instilled in me early by my parents and relatives. And it’s common in South Asian families from my experience. There is an undue emphasis on what other family members think, or how they are going to react. Appearances really matter. In writing that, maybe it’s not specific to South Asian families and is universal? But for me growing up it was a huge point of emphasis. And it caused me to always be guarded with my thoughts, actions, etc. It would be easier to keep them to myself than to defend them or be reprimanded for them. I still have all kinds of fears of being tracked by my family online even though I’m not really doing anything too terrible there – honest!
  2. Professional Network – I have a lot of fear now that people who I used to work will see me as having fallen off. Or even worse that I’ve lost my mind.
  3. People I respect but don’t know personally – This is more of an online thing now I suppose. I have been exposed to the writings and ideas of many brilliant people online, and think about engaging them to discuss some of those very ideas and potential applications. But I am fearful of rejection, or not being seen as someone on that level. Is this referred to as imposter syndrome?
  4. Random people I don’t know and first impressions- I worry about what people I don’t know, and will never know think about me. That is clearly crazy. This happens through interactions – talking to the person taking my order at the coffee shop, passing someone on the street. What do they think when they see me?

So that covers basically everybody in the whole world? I am not sure what I was trying to do with that breakdown. It proves that I am fearful of judgment from everyone I guess. Just watch the Bob Marley video again.

And what am I afraid they are judging me on? Or saying about me behind my back. To use Elon Musk’s term, these would be the attack vectors I am vulnerable to.

  1. I don’t have a high status job. I don’t have any job actually, and it’s not clear as to when that’s going to change. I left a really good job and most would say that I made a mistake.
  2. I am back in my hometown after scoffing at it for almost twenty years. Implies that I had to crawl back with my tail between my legs.
  3. I am not married and have no kids. That would imply that I have some type of emotional issues, or have no way of attracting a partner.
  4. I have tastes and preferences that don’t line up with mainstream – either from the perspective of my family (ethnically) or my network (professionally, status).
  5. I’m not really sure I like what my revealed preferences reveal. That is, if someone at Facebook or google is categorizing me for ads based on my actual behaviors, would I like the category they put me in? I don’t think I would like it even though it would be objective.
  6. I have some insecurities about being a visible minority – what are people going to think when they see me, or my family approaching? Are they going to treat us with disdain because of the way we look?
  7. Connected to bullet 3, I do a lot of stuff by myself since I have no family, and most of my friends do which limits our opportunities to hang out. When I am by myself I fear that people are judging me as a deadbeat or loser.
  8. I fear that I have nothing original in me. I take in a lot of information and repackage it hoping nobody will notice. I am especially fearful of this if I am in the company of really smart people.

So I have a lot of fears. And that list isn’t comprehensive. What am I trying to do here? This entry is already spiraling a bit. Let me try to rope it back in. I started by identifying the categories of people in my life who I think might be judging me. And then I identified the ways in which I think they are judging. My weak points.

But that again doesn’t answer the most basic, or fundamental question. So? Assuming my worst fears are true, and everyone on earth has a good read on my weak points with tendencies to judge, how would that affect me? How would them judging me affect me in my day-to-day life? If they are just talking behind my back it wouldn’t. If they are making my parents or other people I care about have to defend me, that would be a real issue to be fair. And that is a legitimate concern too. I wonder why families are so eager to tear down others within the group, under the guise of wanting to help many times. Maybe they legitimately think they are trying to help, with a goal of maintaining appearances. That has been so deeply engrained in them that they can’t see it any other way. Or maybe they know they’re in a prison of their own making, and simply want to drag everyone else down with them. Misery loves company. But there is no need for me to try and psychoanalyze them. If my parents or people close to me are forced to defend me or listen to slander about me, I don’t like that. But let’s keep it in perspective. That would create some mental anguish. And that’s about it. Which is also true if I am confronted directly. It might hurt my feelings, but then what? Maybe a bigger issue is it might limit future opportunities. But that is speculative, and if those opportunities are limited by people who work that way, maybe it’s better for me anyway? A blessing in disguise. Well, this is another pep talk in effect. I don’t want people to judge me. I have an irrational fear of it in fact. But if my fear is actualized, it’s not as big a deal as it is in my head. So don’t worry about it.

I quickly want to end by looking at the opposite – me judging others. I don’t want to come across as hypocritical. It’s not that everyone else is a jerk because they do it, and I’m some type of enlightened person who is above it all. I do it too, and often. And I don’t like it, it makes me feel ashamed actually. But not before I’ve gone through the whole process – triggered, wild thoughts, usually negative about the person involved, anger maybe, childish stuff like ignoring them or talking trash. Some type of cycle similar to that one. And when it’s over – shame. I know it’s wrong, and it’s humbling to not be able to stop yourself from doing something you know is foolish. And I pride myself on self-discipline no less! I guess the message on this side is to just keep working at acknowledging how far there still is to go. Any progress or improvement is positive, and will benefit not only me but the people around me too.

Another weird entry. Very meandering. Sorry about that, I am imagining you all passing judgement on the quality (or lack thereof) of this piece. True to form!

Thanks for reading and I will see you again tomorrow. 55 Minutes. 1712 Words.

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