The fear of judgement (FOJ) plague

I can’t even count how many people I know who suffer from the ‘FOJ’ aka fear of judgement.

I know so many it’s unbelievable, but true.

Another way to put is they’re afraid of what other people think, so they’ll avoid at all costs doing something, saying something, being something other than who they are in the eyes of others.

This means that they’re not being themselves. They’re not living authentically.

There’s an element of simplicity in playing the game of FOJ because it’s actually all we’ve ever known.

It’s so engrained in our psyche that it’s a habit. We do it unconsciously.

As children, we learnt to do things to please our parents and get love and recognition back. That’s when it started.

A really simple example is this.

You’re on a phone call to your best friend, who’s really cheerful, upbeat, enjoying life. She asks “So how are you?”

You feel like shit. You’re down in the dumps, having a bad day, yet normally you’re the ‘enthusiastic one’

What do you say?

Do you say, “I feel like shit, I’m having a rough day and I can’t bring a smile on my face so I’d rather be left alone to be honest”

Or

Do you FOJ it, and say “I’m awesome thanks hun, feeling on top of the world, loving life!”

FOJ is not a back or white thing.

It can take on any number of manifestations in our daily life.

It can… (by no means an exhaustive list)

  • Stop us from taking action on a dream of ours for fear of being ridiculed, told “that’s not like you!” or “You’re probably gonna fail anyway!”
  • Stop us from telling the truth
  • Stop us from expressing ourselves fully in an argument or conversation
  • Stop us from actually helping someone else if we continue to lie to them
  • Stop us from living our life fully and wholly without limits
  • Stop us from taking action of any sort

People pleasers tend to be FOJ ers as well. I used to be the BIGGEST people pleaser on the planet. Oh my goodness if you could’ve heard some of the conversations I’ve had in the past, purely to please the person I was talking to.

Now don’t think I’m trying to excuse people pleasers, but the idea behind people pleasing is to get people to like you back. To be accepted. To be cherished. To be included. To be part of the pack.

It’s taken me such a long time to realise that the people who really do love me, love me regardless whether I piss them right off with my honesty, or lie to their faces by people pleasing.

That’s not to say I don’t get scared or upset when I don’t FOJ. I get shit hot scared! Can you imagine, years and years of hiding behind ‘something’ like a lie, or people pleasing, then all of a sudden, realising you’ve been doing it and changing? Suddenly all your conversations change. All the years of utter bullshit, tip toeing around people suddenly comes crashing down.

It’s fucking scary. It’s ruined relationships. It’s

It’s uncomfortable as hell. But it’s the right thing to do in order to tune into the real you. The you that’s buried underneath years and years of societal oppression, negative comments, people judging you, people telling you what to do.

I have a very morbid but very realistic vision in my mind whenever I talk about the FOJ. I will share it here because it’s real, and I’m committed to not being living FOJ anymore, for the goodness of my own unique soul.

I imagine my gravestone, in 60 or so years from now. I then imagine my gravestone in 100 years from now. And then 200 years from now.

Who even speaks my name?

Probably no one. And I’m not afraid of this. But I’m afraid of not truly living while I’m alive.

And so, with this comes the riddance of FOJ and people pleasing, and the greeting of ‘who I really am and I what I want in my life’.

I invite you to join in!

Sophie x