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How can I shift the fear of other people's negative judgments when at work?

heart to heart The questioner's philosophy
Greek Orthodox, I believe in loving and caring for one another. l have compassion for others.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
To be successful and happy - I have a lovely family and I want to always be there for my children and partner.
I have this situation that when I am in my work environment. I feel that people don't like me and they judge me and my work and then I lose all my confidence and start feeling insecure, feel that I am not good at my work and start thinking that I am a bad person - then my work suffers. I start feeIing depressed and insecure and get all these horrible feelings that seem to just be like a roller coaster. Then I come home and complain to my husband that she did this to me and that person was like that to me.

I love what I do with great passion and don't want to walk away from my career. I am aware that my parents used to put me down and tell me how useless I was. I fear that this will always stick with me. It would be my absolute freedom if I could shift this negative thing out of my Iife.

Wallace's reply
When children are brought up continually being judged they learn to fear being judged and, in turn, have a tendency to judge others. Judging and being judged creates an environment of fear and inadequacy. This is what has happened to you. Do not try and run away from this situation at work because the problem is not in your work it is within yourself. Because the problem lies within yourself if you change job you will only take the problem with you and experience it somewhere else. The good news is that you can learn to break out of this vicious circle of relating to people through their judgments of you and your judgments of them. The solution is to open your heart and love yourself and others instead of judging. I want to give some guidelines to help you do this...
  1. Stop taking other people's comments personally.
    Other people's comments are just that - comments. You need to develop the inner discipline that allows you to accept their comment or judgment without taking it personally. To achieve this, learn to "self refer" - this will give you confidence in yourself. What do I mean by self refer? If someone judges you or criticizes you, accept the comment as just that - a comment, someone else's perspective. Do not defend yourself against the comment but rather accept the comment and then examine your behavior and consider whether or not the comment is justified. If it isn't justified, ignore it. If it is justified, change your behavior.

    To understand their comment, you are referring within yourself, i.e. self referring. This skill of self referring leads to discrimination and is the main skill you need to learn at this point in time - to be able to discriminate between comments others make that are valid and change your behavior as a result of them, and comments that are not valid and ignore the others' comments. I want you to practice this every day you are at work. It will take time for you to develop the twin skills of self referral and discrimination, but that is your main spiritual task at the present time.

    As you develop and fine tune your skills of self referral and discrimination these two skills will help you in every area of your life, including your marriage and other primary relationships - so these skills are well worth acquiring and your job will provide the perfect training ground.

  2. Do not react emotionally to other people's judgments of you.
    To go beyond reacting emotionally to others' judgments, change from seeing their behavior as an attack on your self worth to seeing it as helpful and constructive. See comments and judgments as constructive - then they lose their power to cause hurt. You will be able to find them helpful because you will be using your powers of self referral and discrimination, as outlined above, to change your behavior when needed. This in turn will be helping you to grow and mature as a person.

    Before you go into work each morning spend 10 minutes quietly on your own. As you sit in the quiet, visualize each of your work colleagues in turn. Send out loving energy in the form of white light from your heart to theirs and visualize this loving white energy returning from their hearts to you. You can easily visualize this if you take time to sit in silence. By this means, feel a powerful bond of love and mutual support between you and your work colleagues before you go out to work in the morning. Doing this will help prevent you from reacting emotionally to others' comments and judgments and reduce emotion induced stress.

  3. Do not judge others in thought or word.
    Practice not judging other people. If you do not judge others then you in turn will not be judged. Our relationships are like a mirror, in which we can see ourselves. If others are judging you then it means you are harboring judgmental thoughts about them. To learn to stop judging others learn to watch your own mind working.

    To do this, detach your self from your thoughts. You are not your thoughts. You are separate from your thoughts. From this place of detachment, observe your thoughts working. Observe them as if they belonged to someone else. This is detachment. This is meditation. As you detach your self from your thoughts and learn to observe them you will notice that you are having thoughts that judge others. That is all you need to do. By simply becoming aware that you are having these thoughts you will cause them to decline and they will lose their power to control your behavior.

Take these three guidelines to heart, contemplate their significance, and endeavor to implement them every day at work. If you do this gradually your relationships at work will all improve and you will enjoy going into work instead of fearing it. Then as you master these guidelines at work, expand their use firstly to your marriage and then to all other relationships. Once you have successfully implemented these guidelines across all your relationships you will be living a life in accordance with your own philosophy of loving and caring for others and you will be successful and happy in all areas of your life.

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