What happens when you feel you’re being judged by other people?
Today I want to share a story of one of my clients. She had a friend to stay for the weekend. She noticed that she felt stressed having her friend to stay. It wasn’t that she was worried about feeding her friend. She realised that she felt judged by her friend. About her weight, her house, her life.
Her friend likes to tell stories about other people which she feels are a coded message to her. She believes her friend is trying to change her, but not in a helpful way.
Feeling stress meant that my client ate far more snack food than normal. She drank more alcohol than normal.
Generally she didn’t feel good.
And who wants that?
We want to feel fit and fabulous!
The first thing to point out is that our emotions are our emotions. Yes I realise that’s obvious. But the point is that we are the only ones who feel them. When you feel judged, you get the negative emotions. Not the person who may be doing the judging. (I say may be as it might be that they aren’t judging!)
We can also create emotions. Isn’t that amazing? When we start to think of happy things, we can create the emotion of happiness.
When we start to think about things that annoy us, we start to feel the emotion of annoyance.
We can’t fully control our emotions, but we can become more aware of them. We can then help ourselves direct our emotions.
It’s easy to blame other people for our emotions. I see my kids doing this all the time. “My sister made me cross because she kept annoying me!”
Or I feel stress because my friend is judging me.
When we allow other people to have control over our emotions, we’re at their power. We give our power to them.
Who is now in control of how we feel? They are.
Don’t you want to be in control of how you feel yourself? To do that, you need to claim your emotions as your own. The good ones and the bad ones.
One of the issues with our thoughts and emotions is that we’re so busy being inside them that we can’t work out how to get out!
This “Thought Model” is a useful way to help. (This version of the “thought model” is credited to Brooke Castillo.)
We can look at the Circumstances (C), Thought (T), Emotions (E), Actions (A) and Results (R).
In this situation we’d see:
Circumstances: My friend makes comments about other people. (This has to be a circumstance that everyone can agree on. Just facts.)
Thought: I am being judged
Emotion: Stressed. Judged.
Action: Ate more. Drank more.
Result: Feeling guilty.
We can break this thought cycle. For example, you could think “my friend cares about me.” I know that she’s trying to help me.
When we replace “I am being judged” by “My friend is trying to help me”, we get a different result.
Circumstances: My friend makes comments about other people.
Thought: My friend cares for me.
Emotion: I feel loved.
Action: I don’t eat as much or drink as much.
When we have big emotions, there are 3 things we can do.
It can be difficult to sit with an emotion without acting on it. One useful tool is to focus on your breathing.
It doesn’t matter whether other people’s thoughts about you are true or not. Either way, they are just someone else’s opinions.
It’s not worth spending 3 days worrying about them.
When my children get upset because their brother or sister has called them a name, I tell them to say “quack”. I might call them an elephant. But it doesn’t make it true. They still get upset when people call them names.
I tell them to say “quack” as if it were water off a duck’s back.
It doesn’t matter what other people think and say about you!
Dr Orlena is a health coach. She helps busy mums go from "I can't lose weight" to feeling fit and fabulous. Find out more about her here.