“I don’t care what anyone thinks.” Sounds good, right? I know I’m not supposed to care what other people think. I’m not in high school anymore. I’m way past that. Well, actually, that’s not the case. I admit it: I’m a middle aged woman and fear of being judged still gets to me.

Fear of judgement

Out of all the fears holding us back, fear of being judged, possibly rejected, is one that frightens us most.  That’s normal. It’s rooted in our primitive brain, the one running a binary system where the values are live/die. In cave man days, banishment from the tribe meant being cast out, being on your own and having to fend for yourself. It was a death sentence. Even today, in close knit, socially isolated communities, being an outcast is a death of the perceived self. You’re stripped of your self-identity, your relationships, your social references.

The closer the person is to us, the bigger the fear. Isn’t it ironic? You should expect those you care about, and who care for you, to receive you with open arms, ready to listen and understand whatever it is you’re trying to do.

Somewhere, in my primitive reptilian brain programed solely for survival, I know that if Michael did show up right now, holy hell would rain down on Devon Miles in a way he could never imagine.                   (Closed Doors,©2017)

I’ve gotten better at dealing with it. You’d hope. My life is half over after all. No time to waste. Maybe that’s part of it. It’s also realizing that the fear is rooted in my own insecurity. But sometimes there’s still that little tightening in the chest area when I want to–and let me quote my book’s protagonist, Larissa–‘lie under my bed and eat macaroni and cheese straight out of the pot‘.

Is it true? I’m ignorant in these things, that’s his world not mine. And the legions? One man’s legion is another man’s smattering. Shut up, Nelly. None of it matters, only here and now counts.I made that choice the first time I came here. I don’t care. I don’t care. (Closed Doors,©2017)

Writing a book has challenged that fear. If you want to discover your vulnerabilities, any qualms hidden in the dark recesses of your psyche, write a book. It’s like bathing in lemon juice: the most minute cut, invisible to the naked eye, will be instantly revealed with a wasp-worthy sting.

Keeping your focus

When my Dad saw my author copies of Closed Doors and said he’d like to read it, did my stomach start to hurt? Hell, yes. “Well, yeah, maybe…when it’s finished.” I scrambled for an exit, putting off the request. He reads only non-fiction. And if he did read fiction, this certainly would not be it. Trust me. Never in a million years.

On the other hand, he also reminded me that my Mom helped me when I started writing, sharing her opinions and suggestions. Would I have asked her to read the first draft? Given her a copy of the final version? In a heartbeat. But my Mom read a lot and widely; we shared that. Maybe having common ground helps. Sometimes it’s a drag she’s not here now, when I actually went and finished a whole book. Did I mention writing brings revelations? Not just in the writing, per se.

That scene with me and my Dad would have been funny, if it wasn’t happening to me. If it didn’t involve someone I care about. But you have to reconcile, you have to be one person, of one mind. I talked about focus in manifestation. When you set your mind on doing something, you’ll meet obstacles, opposition, judgements. Most of it is imagined or exaggerated. Regardless of the source, you can’t be of two minds and expect to reach your goal. For example, you can’t entertain scruples in regards to your writing and then try to write. It’s like stepping on the gas and the brake at the same time. It’s self sabotage.

Here’s another example. I tried several times for a job promotion. Every time the same worries came up: will I still have time to write? Will my daily commute drastically increase once I’m promoted and sent to a new division? Will  I be doing crazy overtime again? I want it/I don’t want it. It’ll be great/I’ll regret it bitterly. You get the idea. And no, I never got it. Thank goodness.

Be carefree, not uncaring

Maybe ‘I don’t care’ isn’t right, uncaring isn’t the way to go. Rather, practice being carefree. Stop imagining what others are going to think. It’s not real. When they do share their opinion, acknowledge it as what it is: one person’s point of view. Accept it with detachment. As for real judging? Flee that, no one needs it. And wear a funky red straw hat if you feel like it.

Photo by Fabio Neo Amato on Unsplash