Increasing your effectiveness with EFT, part 12.
Most of us have struggled at some point in our lives with the fear of being judged (either by ourselves or by others). Today I want to share a tip on how we can start working on this.
It’s absolutely normal to fear being judged by other people, but that doesn’t mean we can’t diminish that fear with EFT if we notice that it’s holding us back in some way. For example, sometimes this fear can be at play if you find yourself procrastinating on completing a task or project that you perceive could be negatively judged by others. This might be a written assignment, or anything that involves “putting yourself out there” to promote your services, such as completing the “about me” section of your website.
Sometimes it can be our own negative judgments about ourselves and our work that can hold us back. This is sometimes known as “the Inner Critic”. Now, the Inner Critic’s purpose isn’t to ruin our lives, it actually wants to protect us from harm (such us other people judging us or rejecting us), but it does so in a way that doesn’t help us very much, and certainly doesn’t feel good.
So how can we begin to address all of this with EFT? Well, here’s an idea I’ve been using a lot lately with my clients: come up with a made up scenario of someone you know, such as a successful colleague, reading your written assignment or your “about me” page or whatever it may be. And imagine how they would react to it, what would they think or say about you? Maybe it’s something like: “wow, he really doesn’t know what he is doing”, or “This makes no sense at all, what was she thinking when she wrote this?”.
And when you imagine this person having these judgments about you and/or your work, what feeling, emotion or sensation do you notice coming up for you now? And then you can apply Basic EFT to this “made up future event”.
So an example of a setup phrase might be: “Even though, just imagining Susan reading my blog post, and she is thinking ‘Wow, Bruno really doesn’t know what he is doing. Who does he think he is?’, I feel this nervous feeling in my belly, I accept that’s how I’m feeling right now”. And the reminder phrase could be: “this nervous feeling in my belly”.
Then, after the round, I would ask myself: “as I imagine Susan reading my blog post again, what is most noticeable about it now? Is it maybe her tone of voice, or her facial expression, or something she says in particular?”. “And what feeling, sensation or emotion is coming up for me now when I focus on that aspect?”. And that’s how you can start zeroing in on the shifting aspects.
So maybe the next round could be: “Even though, just imagining Susan reading my blog post, she looks really stern and disapproving, and I feel this anxiety in my chest, I accept that’s how I’m feeling right now”. And for the reminder phrase I could tap on: “this anxiety in my chest” or “she looks really stern and disapproving”.
What I’ve noticed tends to happen with my clients as the session comes to an end is that the way they are imagining this other person reacting to their work changes. Maybe they suddenly don’t look and sound so disapproving anymore. And/or the other thing that can happen is that suddenly their opinion doesn’t hold such a heavy weight.
The new perception is kind of like: “they are entitled to their own opinion, but it doesn’t define my worth and it doesn’t send my nervous system into survival mode anymore”. As we know, these spontaneous and empowering changes in the way we are perceiving the situation are known as “cognitive shifts”.
So, to recap, one way you can start working on the fear of being judged is to come up with a made up scenario of someone you know and whose opinion matters to you judging you. You can even imagine this other person by themselves or talking about you to someone else. As if you were a fly on the wall observing them. And then you tap on your emotional reactions to that.
It’s actually a gentle way to work on your “Inner Critic” and limiting beliefs about yourself by allowing someone else to say them in your imagination. And then noticing how the way you are perceiving it might begin to positively change.
Now, a caveat I would mention is that when choosing who you are going to be imagining judging you, start with someone such as a peer or a current-life authority figure (such as your boss), as opposed to, say, either one of your parents. Because that could potentially open up a whole can of worms. So be gentle with yourself. And remember you can always work with a practitioner to help you with that.
That’s it for today. I hope this post was helpful to you. My name is Bruno Sade, and I’m a certified EFT practitioner with a mental health background as a clinical psychologist licensed in Argentina.
I’d love to know: What do you think about this approach? What other approaches would you recommend to work on the fear of being judged? Please let me know in the comments below.