Fear TRILOGY INtroduction
This post is the second of a three part series on fear. The first post focused on the fear of failure and how it stops us from even trying to do something. This second part will touch on another type of fear, the fear of being judged. Most people will be able to identify with both of these fears. Maybe these fears have even stopped you from pursuing or changing parts of your life. The third and final part will discuss how you can stop these fears from limiting you.
Both part one and two detail the story of two of my friends who have allowed fear to guide the direction of their lives. This second part discusses a story of another friend of mine who let’s the fear of judgement from others stop her from living the life that she wants. Being judged is not fun for anyone but are you really willing to let other people’s thoughts guide the way that you live your life?
**all names in this story have been changed
When I met Chelsea, I could tell that she was a little different from those around her. I don’t mean that in a socially awkward or weird way, I mean that what she wanted was different from what people wanted at our age. She realized early that she wanted to travel and see the world.
Out of all of my friends, she was always the one who wanted to move to away from our home town. Chelsea did not like the area where we were growing up. She wanted to live in a vast city and get out of the suburbia we were stuck in. She had these desires way before other people our age discovered they wanted the same thing.
She would be what you call a free spirit. She wanted to be constantly on the move and to live life to the fullest. At least, that is what she said she had always wanted.
WHAT IS Chelsea UP TO NOW?
Chelsea lives the picture perfect life, or so it seems. Chelsea has an advanced degree from an amazingly well known school. This degree landed her a high-paying job at a large brand name company. She had a dream wedding, to a guy who treats her well and has a good job. They live together in a swanky apartment in an expensive part of town.
Impressive, right? To the outside world, anyone would look at her life and be envious. You would pass positive judgement on her life. This is exactly what she wants you to do and exactly why she lives this way.
If you scratch a little below the surface you’ll find it’s not picture perfect. Chelsea told me that her job isn’t really what she thought it would be. She likes the people but the work is just work and she it doesn’t make her happy. She also really regrets not traveling more before settling into her career.
Even though she has this fancy apartment, she doesn’t spend a lot of time there. She frequently goes back to visit the suburbs where we grew up. The same suburbs that she said she hated and wanted to escape.
WHAt is Chelsea afraid of?
Judgement. Chelsea has always had a picture in her mind of what life should be like. She lives her life the way that she thinks will be envied and looked at highly. She is so concerned with how she is being perceived and she is afraid of those judgement that she has lets them dictate her life decisions. From her job, to where she lives, even so far down as to what she says and wears. All of this has been chosen for her by the society she thinks is judging her.
It not only affects her actions but it also affects the people around her. If they do not act the way she thinks is the “right way” then she tries to change them or makes passive aggressive comments. She will try to change situations or convince you that something is “not appropriate” because everyone else has told her so.
She thinks that if her life is perfect it will somehow make her judgement proof. She thinks that being judgement proof will make her happy. But is she really happy with this life? I don’t think so. I think she has brainwashed other people (and herself) into believing she is happy.
HOW DID SHE GET TO THIS POINT?
Chelsea never developed a thick skin. She always allowed herself to play the victim and never took responsibility for her own actions. Instead of thinking that she may be the problem, she would always blame circumstances or other people. It was never her fault.
By never blaming yourself, you don’t build up confidence in yourself. I know this sounds counter intuitive but by never taking the blame, you do not allow yourself to grow. When it is not your fault, you don’t try to fix the things that caused the problem and you stay the same. She never took any responsibility, and in turn, never built any confidence. Without this confidence she was never able to stand up to those external judgement from other people.
As she grew older, these tendencies never changed, she grew more and more concerned with what other people thought about her. She started catering to those thoughts more and more, and away from the free spirit that she once was.
All of these factors also stopped Chelsea from ever stepping out of her comfort zone. She played it safe with everything. She made up sorry excuses for the reasons why she wasn’t able to do things. She became comfortable living the normal life that she never wanted because that was what is expected of her.
MORAL OF THE STORY
You shouldn’t allow other people’s thoughts or their judgments (even the good ones) dictate how you live your life. Your life does not have to be the perfect picture. It does not have to appear or seem a certain way to other people for you to be happy. It just has to make you happy. Because the more you cater to other people’s version of the way life should be lived, the happiness you think you have will not last long.
What Chelsea should have done is stepped out of her comfort zone in small ways. By facing things out of her comfort zone she would have been more confident in pushing past her fear of being judged. If she did this, she may be living the dream that she always said she wanted. Not the one that was given to her by other people.
For more, come back for Part 3 where I discuss how to face these fears!
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