How to be authentic and true to yourself without the fear of their judgements!
I wrote a blog for the new business that I was creating, a little over a year ago now. I was just starting my business and super excited about adding a blog to it. I wrote this blog from a very personal place so I was really passionate throughout it. I was so proud of this blog and how authentic it was and just true and passionate. It was everything that I love when reading a good blog or book. It made you think, and reconsider what you knew. It was insightful and really gave the reader a perspective on the topic that they may not have considered before. To say I was proud of it would be a complete understatement.
I wrote this blog and published it immediately! I couldn’t wait to get it out there to the readers. After I published it, I read it over and over again. About thirty minutes after I published it I freaked out and took it down. I let my fear take over and I was so disappointed in myself for this fear and for letting it get to me, that it was almost an overwhelming feeling. As much as I tried and tried I couldn’t get past this fear for some reason. Finally, in my despair I poured a drink and called my dad.
My dad didn’t even know about the business I was building because of the same fear that led me to take down my prized blog. I didn’t think he would understand that this could really work and I could really help people with this business. With it not being a brick and mortar business sometimes it’s hard for people to put the pieces together on how it will work and I knew that, so I had hidden this side of myself and what I was doing. My thought was that I would tell everyone once it started making money. Clearly I was hiding from my fear of their judgment and I felt like the work around was to only bring it to light when it was a success, so that there couldn’t be any judgement, right?
So I take my drink that I just poured and walk out on my back patio to talk to my dad and bear my soul. I tell him that I am starting this business and what I am wanting to do and how blogging fit into it. Like I thought, it didn’t make sense to him how it would work but he just asked a lot of detailed questions, no judgement. Then, I continue and tell him about the blog. I tell him how overcome with fear I was after I posted it and how I took it down and it’s eating me up. In my typical dad fashion he says to me, “What in the hell are you afraid of?”. I tell him I have no idea but it was driving me crazy!
My dad is the best at getting to the root cause of any and all issues. He’s like the resident guru around here for root causes and solutions. He asks me what about the blog was most on my mind when I was feeling so fearful. I told him, “I got so passionate that I said ‘shit’ in it, and at the time I thought it was perfect placement and just the right amount of passion.” To this he responded with…”ok..”. You could tell he was utterly confused on why I would freak out about one perfectly placed swear word. You see, in my family it’s not looked down upon to swear as long as you’re not being disrespectful. Then I hear, “why on earth would that matter?” At first I didn’t recognize why that would matter to me. However, as I continued talking and talking and just getting it all out it came to me.
At the time that I wrote this blog, I was engaged to my now wife. My now wife is the daughter of a Midwest Preacher. My now wife who was raised and who’s family still firmly holds to no swearing, no using the Lord’s name in vain, (accident or not) they are just way more conservative and reserved than the way in which I was raised. So while saying a swear word in front of my mom or dad doesn’t phase anyone, saying one in front of her family would cause quite the stir. As I am realizing this, my dad is quietly listening to me go on and on and work through my issues. Then, as is typical in these father-daughter conversations, I hear, “alright, alright, that’s enough, hush Whitney.” It’s always the same phrase from him and it’s the cue that I have started talking myself in circles and my dad has found the root cause of what’s bothering me.
“So basically you’re afraid of being judged, is that it?” I hadn’t thought about it that way. I never realized that I had fears of being judged because the way that I was raised to just do what you do and let everyone else do what they do. “Don’t worry about it” was what I was told when I had any insecurity at all. So I didn’t. However, when he said the word “judged” it hit me like a ton of bricks. He was right! I was terrified of what these people would think of me if I used a swear word (even though it was perfectly placed). I wanted so badly for them to accept me and see me for the good person that I am that I was paralyzed at the thought of anything else.
I had never been accepted by someone else’s family before. Being same-sex oriented and from the south, most people that I was in relationships with didn’t have the support from their families that I did and for that we would both pay the price. There were years and years of trying to fit in, trying to make anothers family see me for more than just a lesbian who is taking their child to hell. So when I got engaged, to a preacher’s kid, that all came rushing back. This was going to be a life-long thing. I desperately wanted them to see me and accept me into their family. So when I read this blog back to myself and saw the word ‘shit’, the fear washed over me like a rushing river. I was paralyzed.
Then my dad let me in on a not so well kept secret. “Whitney” he said, “the people that you are so scared are going to judge you, already have.” “They judged you a long time before you wrote this blog, so what the hell does it matter now?” “You can’t force them to accept you, but living in fear of what they will think about you and not being authentic and true to yourself is not how your mother and I raised you.” My dad’s mic drop moment right there!
He was right. We judge as soon as we see or hear of someone for the first time. It’s immediate. Most of the time we don’t even realize that we are doing it. That’s why everyone says that first impressions are so very important. It’s because they are going to judge you then, and it’s really hard to change the opinions people form about us once they have already set their judgments. Once we realize that simple truth, “The people you are so scared are going to judge you, already have”, then we can deal with that and start to move forward. There is power and clarity in recognizing that by the time that fear sets in, it’s already too late. Once we realize this we realize that there is officially no point to that feeling of fear. It’s done. They like you or they don’t. They have judged you harshly or kindly but it has absolutely nothing to do with you. It has nothing to do with you. I want you to read that over and over and let it sink in. It’s true. People’s judgments of us are based within them. We can’t control that. We can’t stop it. We can’t change it. All we can do is to be our true and authentic selves, always. To those who are meant to be in our lives that will always be good enough. They will see past what they consider the imperfections to the soul of who you are and they will love and accept you. If they don’t, they are not your people and that is ok. Stay true to yourself. Live your best life. Be kind and thoughtful. Help a stranger when you can. And you will always be loved and accepted by the right people!