There’s no way around it: trying to manage other people’s perceptions can lead to some interesting situations.
If you feel called to put yourself out into the world in a public way you’ll receive a bevy of opportunities to help you figure out how to make amends with the drive to convince people they’ve got it twisted about you.
And if you take an inventory of all the times you’ve tried? You might come up with what I came up with: a bunch of moments when it didn’t work our that well, ie it got super messy and fast.
We can try to have a conversation with someone, about how their judgments of us are way off, but if we do we have to accept that it might not end well.
They might end up judging us even more and we might end up emotionally drained.
Truth time: the person who feels inclined to make mad assumptions is rarely willing to have a conversation about the forces behind their desire to shove you into a box. IE the inner influences that convinced them that judging was the righteous path.
So you have to meander the territory of feeling like you need to defend yourself amidst the reality that if you try to, it likely won’t help you or them in any capacity.
Silence is a message. Not replying is a message.
I’ve integrated the practice of not responding to communications that don’t empower me over the past couple of years, and it’s resulted in a lot of peace and emotional growth. I have more time and space within myself to do the work I need to do.
Much of it comes down to a desire to not enable. I can have compassion for people who are suffering, while choosing not to provide fuel for aggressive behaviours.
Not responding helps you step back into your power.
In the presence of emails, comments and people that aren’t showcasing a desire to empower or nurture you, don’t engage.
I live by the mantra that if you aren’t willing to be honest about your intentions and the source of your drive to judge me, you don’t get my time or energy.
I also live with the need to remind myself of that mantra quite frequently 😂
My life experiences taught me that I needed to protect myself from everyone, all the time. So this is a tough one for me. I need the reminder that I don’t need to show up for things that aren’t serving me a lot – that I don’t need to contribute to unproductive conversations.
If you feel called to put yourself out into the world in a public way, set the intention to heal from the desire to engage with the judgments of strangers.
It’s part of my path, to do the work I do as a writer. And now with acting – it’s kind of the next level of putting yourself out there. Getting in front of a camera can be scary. I need all the energy and emotional resolve I can muster to look after myself – to process the fear and still do a good job.
I can’t funnel my energy into managing perceptions of me AND do a great job.
My energy needs to be focused on what’s important – the areas that impact my capacity to show up and do the work I’m meant to do.
So does yours. Yes, it absolutely does suck when people judge us. It feels crappy and sometimes bizarre (especially this recent one for me. whoosh! It was extensively bizarre!)
But damn if it isn’t a sign you’re doing what you’re meant to be doing.
Stay on track. Mind the lane you’re in – yours – and let other people do whatever they want to do in their own lanes.
‘Cause they’re gonna do it no matter what.
The fallacy is that we can change people, convince them they are wrong or teach them the ways they are wrong.
The most self-loving, self-kindness infused lesson you can offer is the gift of not engaging with judgment.
Honouring yourself is witnessing the moments that affirm you’re doing what you’re meant to do. Even the ones that don’t feel so good to experience.
So honour yourself. Love yourself. And repeat.