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How Judgmental Comments Reveal Our Own Self-Deprecating Thoughts

By Teresa Beshwate May 27, 2023 Mindset

Imagine that I said to you, “I hate your purple hair. It looks terrible on you.” Assuming that your hair is any color except purple, you might wonder about my eyesight but aside from that, you wouldn’t give the comment a second thought.

It would roll right off your back. You wouldn’t ruminate about it, or question whether I was right, or second guess your actual hair color.

On the other hand, if your hair color was purple, you might feel offended.

Do You Fear Being Judged by Others?

Many of us feel obligated to consider other people’s opinions (i.e., judgmental thoughts or comments) before we do or say something. This usually manifests in a formulation such as:

  • What will people say if I…?
  • I don’t want others to see me as…
  • What will the family think of me if I…?
  • How will my kids react if I… ?

You have no doubt felt the sting of being judged by others. Sometimes criticism is meant to be helpful; sometimes it isn’t.

  • You need to get on with your life.
  • You’re not dealing with this properly.
  • You are only looking out for yourself.
  • You are being overly dramatic.
  • You should take better care of yourself.

We fear being judged and we feel hurt when we are judged only when we are in agreement; only when deep down, we are already judging ourselves.

We talk to friends about it and they commiserate with us, telling us how rude and insensitive the comment was, but that doesn’t solve the hurt, because the hurt is rooted deeper. The problem isn’t what another person said (or what they might say). The problem is what we already are thinking about ourselves.

Judgment Presents an Opportunity

Being afraid of being judged or feeling the sting of judgment presents an opportunity to examine our own thoughts; to consider that deep down, we might be in agreement. And then to remember that all thoughts are 100% optional.

Thoughts that cause extra suffering do not serve us. Let’s face it, life can be painful enough. The last thing we need is added suffering.

Examine your thoughts. Are they both true and useful? (Hint: if they make you feel horrible, they’re very likely not useful.) If they are not both true and useful, it’s time to choose other thoughts, on purpose, that are 100% true for you.

Once we stop judging ourselves, we can stop living in fear of being judged by others. We can break free of the paralysis and take action: make the bold move, quit the job, accept the dinner invitation, start the business, be brave enough to be a beginner.

Once we learn to have our own back, judgmental comments lose their sting. We can simply allow other people to be wrong about us.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Does fear of judgment keep you from taking action? Do you agree that judgment only stings when, at some level, we are already judging ourselves? How have you allowed others to be wrong about you? What do you think others might judge you for? Have you tried switching self-criticisms off for the benefit of better thoughts?

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Yes, definitely. I self-censor all the time. It’s way more effective than anyone else doing it lol! It’s a behavior I am trying to quit but I could use some tips on how to stop!


I like where you said ‘we can learn to have our own back”. Very good advice.


In my whole life (age 60), I’ve never been a people pleaser or cared what they thought. I don’t judge others, especially women. We should build each other up, not tear down.


Applause! Well done.


One of the lovely aspects of being a senior is that I really don’t care what judgements others make about me. I have self analyzed and know what my faults and shortcomings are so I’m certainly not offended by someone pointing it out to me in a constructive way. It tells me that this person really knows me. Those that are mean spirited, I simply ignore them. We’re just too old to let people negatively affect us.


I agree with you Kim. I am 67 and yes it does affect mean even to this day when people are mean spirited, but I do try to ignore them and I might say something back to them to put them in their place because sometimes I figure if they’re going to say something to be hurtful to me Then I’m going to make a comment back and I never hurt them back. I just let them know that they’re being mean spirited without saying it or words I try to do it in a very nice way. Let them know that it’s not acceptable I no longer have time for drama And things of that nature , I much prefer to be a happy person, and be surrounded by having people and kind people if they’re not then I simply don’t surround myself around them, and I simply ignore them most of the time take care🌻🌻🌻


Sorry about some of the wrong words as I am talking not texting. Sometimes this microphone just does not pick up what I say but I think you can read between the lines and words have a beautiful day Kim and everyone else.💕🌸

The Author

Teresa Amaral Beshwate, MPH, is an author and life coach who exclusively helps widows to move forward and learn to live and love their life again after the loss of their spouse. Her latest book, Life Reconstructed: A Widow’s Guide to Coping with Grief, is now available.

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