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A Method To Remain Confident In Yourself Despite Others Judgments

Updated: Mar 15

For many of us, being judged negatively is a painful experience and can cause us to second guess ourselves, feel shame and unsure of ourselves and/or result in feelings of anger. For some of us (few), we feel the initial impact of negative judgment and are able to let it roll off and remain stable and confident in ourselves and our decisions, despite being judged.


People will always have their judgements. That will never stop nor do we have any control over this. But there are things we can do for ourselves to significantly soften and even remove any negative impact that others judgements have on us.


If you are one of the many (most) who feel judgements from others as a painful personal hit and have a difficult time not taking it on as your own, below I describe a 4 step method for being with these difficult experiences and a how-to for getting to the point of being able to remain confident and unshaken even when others harsh judgements are directed towards you or your parenting decisions or approach.





  1. Firstly, it is important to have an understanding of psychological projection as this is most often what’s going on when people are putting their negative judgments onto us. 


Definitions of Projection from Britannica: 

  • Projection, the mental process by which people attribute to others what is in their own minds. For example, individuals who are in a self-critical state, consciously or unconsciously, may think that other people are critical of them.

  • In contemporary psychological science: seeing the self in the other which has both positive and negative effects. Depending on what qualities are projected and whether or not they are denied in the self, projection can be the basis of both warm empathy and cold hatred.


Projection, when done in the form of a negative or harsh judgment can be seen as a psychological defense mechanism through which individuals attribute their own unacceptable or unwanted thoughts, feelings, or traits onto someone else.


Given this, others' judgments about you actually say more about the person judging and their personal fears and insecurities than it does about you.


Harsh judgements from others can reflect: 

  • A person's personal fears and insecurities placed onto you as a way to gain control and a sense of superiority 

  • aspects of themselves that they are uncomfortable acknowledging 

  • and/or an attempt to deflect attention away from their own perceived shortcomings or vulnerabilities.

  • the person's worldview, cultural background and personal biases.


Although, much of the time, even if we logically know about projection and how it plays out within ourselves and others, this knowing still may not be enough to help us feel confident and self-assured when we are under peoples negative judgements. We still might fall into the painful experience of becoming self questioning, defensive and agitated. 


So now that we have the facts about projection, on we move to what our experience of the judgements of others ultimately comes down to: 


2. Our relationship with ourselves. 


The number one best thing that we can do for ourselves is to be with ourselves and our inner child(ren) in a loving, mothering way. To give unconditional love, the strong, unwavering support and compassion that we give to our children to ourselves. 


When we take the time to be with our inner experience in this way, combined with an understanding of psychological projection, we can come to feel confident in knowing what is ours and what is theirs (the person judging) and remain in confidence and alignment and with what feels right to us. 


This is because the aspects of ourselves that feel unsure and rely on external validation, negative judgments hit hard as these aspects of ourselves believe that they need to be approved of by everyone and if they’re not, they make it mean that there is something wrong with them or with what they’re doing. This is an inner child.


An inner child is an aspect of us that retains the emotions, needs, and vulnerabilities of our childhood self. Some emotional qualities of our inner child are feelings of vulnerability, fearfulness or helplessness


Practice:

It is helpful to have an outlet of going inside or meditating on how we feel. Carving out moments for quiet time with ourselves to notice the ways in which we feel our inner child(ren). This may be in the form of counselling/therapy sessions or it may be your own meditative time that you make for yourself. When you go inside you might notice at first, more feelings of anger and defensiveness, perhaps you notice that you’re focussing on others or external situations more. When you notice this, know that this is a protective behaviour and what it’s protecting (or keeping you from feeling) is a more vulnerable part of you, most likely an inner child. In this quiet space, see if you can bring compassion to your inner experience. Take a moment to imagine that all of your inner feelings are your child(ren) and extend to them warmth, comfort and support. Imagine the most ideal qualities of an unconditionally loving mother and extend them to your inner child or your fearful/vulnerable feelings inside. Imagine these feelings/aspects of you taking in the warmth, love and sense of safety from this loving presence. Extend the words to them “I see you, I feel you and I care about you.” Place your hand over your heart and let the warmth of your hand sink into your heart space and onto the aspects of you that carry feelings of vulnerability and fear. Stay here for as long as feels right and notice any messages you get while you’re here. Take note of any insights. Although these aspects of us are young, they hold wisdom in where we’ve been and what we need to heal. 


Know that you are the only one who can truly understand your inner experience and the experiences of your inner child(ren). So when you have moments of wanting validation or reassurance from others, know that as long as we keep seeking for this outside of ourselves, we will never attain true inner peace. Inner peace and stability comes when we understand and nurture ourselves. This is largely understanding and nurturing our inner child(ren) and giving our inner experience the unconditional love and self assurance that we yearn from others.


3. Now that you have brought awareness to your inner child(ren) and stepped into your unconditionally loving mother self and beamed her warmth and comfort onto your more vulnerable aspects of yourself, a final step in this process is bringing consciousness to the ways in which we judge ourselves (and therefore others).


I.e. the voices we have inside that expect perfection of us, that believe we should be able to do it all, the voice that says we’re not ‘as good’ as others or not a ‘good enough’ mother/partner/friend, etc. The voice that says that we’re not cut out for motherhood and will forever not measure up. These are the protective aspects of ourselves/protective behaviours protecting us from feeling; out of control, like we will crumble or collapse under feelings of vulnerability, etc.


It’s important to understand that the ways we judge ourselves are an attempt to push us to do better, be better or anticipate judgements from others before others do to regain a sense of control. It’s attempting to help us keep moving forward. This part of us is doing all it knows how to do to try to help. This part of us needs help and there is a space inside of us that can help it. See step 4 to learn more.


4. In Dialectical Behaviour Therapy it's referred to as Wise mind, in Internal Family Systems Therapy it is called the Self and in Buddhism it may be called pure-consciousness. It’s a wise, inner knowing that is the witness to it all. It witnesses the anxious thoughts, the fear, the projections and the reactions. It’s a place that we all have inside, it’s who we truly are, underneath all that we’ve been through and our preconceptions of the world. It may often get overshadowed but it’s always there and we can build the relationship between it with the aspects of ourselves who react and feel strongly.


This is the space within ourselves that has the capacity to offer the unconditional, loving support. It’s the shift we need to make to bring inner healing and self reference when we notice we are striving for external validation and reassurance, become shaken and devastated when we are negatively judged by others, or overly preoccupied by what others think about us. 


Developing this relationship within us is the path to attaining further inner harmony, self-empowerment and greater self confidence. 


When we become more aware of our protective behaviours and of our vulnerabilities, we are better able to see this in others and the less we will take their judgements at face value. When we have a place inside of ourselves that we can lean on and refer to for support, we have access to our deep inner wisdom and no longer worry so much about what others think.


The above process is a continuous one. A method to return to repeatedly when needed as our inner experience is ever changing and unfolding.


If you are having trouble creating the time to be with yourself in a self explorative way and tend to your inner experience, you might find it helpful to schedule sessions with a counsellor to help facilitate this. 


As a registered counsellor, I work with women in guiding them inward to explore their experience and build their relationship with (or reclaim) their inner wisdom. I draw from multiple evidence based modalities, such as, CBT, DBT, Internal Family Systems Therapy, Somatic Therapy and Indigenous wisdom to help facilitate this. It’s very important to me that services be accessible so I happily offer a sliding scale rate, considering that this is needed for so many right now.


If you’re interested in working with me or have any questions, send me an email at dionerousseau.pmh@gmail.com. I would love to hear from you!


Dione Rousseau


Sources:

McWilliams, Nancy. "projection". Encyclopedia Britannica, 7 Dec. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/science/projection-psychology. Accessed 16 February 2024.


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