On Being Judged

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Here’s a lesson learned from being an online publisher: you will be judged, whether you like it or not.

And you will be judged harshly, unfairly, and repeatedly.

And the vast majority of it doesn’t matter in the least.

That we are being judged is not unique to publishing online. Not at all. Every day, in almost every way, we are constantly judging and being judged.

I’ve already written about our propensity to do so, and encouraged you do to it less. (Not judging at all, ever, is impossible — just reduce your knee-jerk reaction to be judgy, OK?)

But what about everyone else who didn’t get the message? They’re judging at warp speed. Often. Some with almost every interaction they have with others.

Some with almost every interaction they have with you.

Accept it. Then ignore it. Unless it’s someone specific whose opinion you truly value, let it go.

Trying to live up to everyone’s judgement, trying to internalize everyone’s judgement, is a fool’s errand. Not only will those judgements be contradictory, they’ll simply be wrong. The fact is, most people don’t know your whole story; they don’t know you, and they don’t know what’s appropriate for you.

Only you do.

So why listen? Why agonize over someone else’s unfounded opinion?

I get it, I really do. “I don’t care what other people think.” is easy to say. Every time I’ve heard that phrase, it’s followed, often within moments, by a reaction to the possibility of someone else’s opinion. It’s ironic, and somewhat sad.

We like to think we don’t care what other people think, but we do. To be fair, it’s probably wired in to us by evolution. I’m sure it was an important part of making a cohesive tribe and increased the tribe’s odds for survival.

But we’re (mostly) past that. We certainly don’t need to live it as deeply as was needed then.

So, I won’t say “don’t care what other people think,” because of course we all do. Rather, understand that you are being judged, and take care to pay attention only to what truly matters to you.

Most of it does not.