I like to think that I do not live to seek approval, that I am not worried about what people will think. To some extent, this is true.
As homo sapiens we naturally seek approval. It is conditioned within us from a young age.
I can remember when I was at school, I loved adding a Well-Done sticker to my uniform, I looked forward to Friday assembly’s to see whether I would be taking home another certificate to show my parents (and gloat about to my siblings).
When I was studying for my degree, I would wait in anticipation as my mentor or the family I was looking after completed my feedback forms. I would then wait till I was alone and read through what was said about me, hoping for the best, disheartened when it was something less than what I expected of myself.
I have always set high expectations from myself and often this is measured with the opinions of those closest to me, my family and close friends. Naturally when they disapprove, I worry, and my mind goes into overdrive. Luckily for me, I can count on them to give me constructive criticism and so my moments of self-pity are often short lived.
More recently I have been sharing more online.
Sharing content with my closest is one thing but to publicise my thoughts and ventures for the world to see, that is a whole other ball game. Fear overcomes me each time I share another blog post or painting. And at first, I thought this was a fear of public scrutiny however more recently I have realised that this is not the case. I was reminded by my friends that I do seek approval, but this is from those closest to me, my friends and family are always the first to see/read my latest ventures! This is my safe space.
This fear that I talk about is purely momentary lapses of anxiety. It is the little voice in the back of my mind taunting me. Overcoming this voice is a challenge. For me, ignoring that little voice and believing in myself has gotten easier. It takes days of contemplating whether to make that next move, but you must have confidence in your own ability. And I find if I am still contemplating with myself days later, then I will have to live with the agonising ‘what if’. That is not my style.
This post began with the fear of public scrutiny. Something that will always be a barrier for so many to achieve what they are capable of. It is the fear of disapproval and failure. We must learn to understand that no two individuals are the same and not everyone will approve or be interested in your business, blog, lifestyle but that is by no means a measure of your failure! Think about all the times you see something that does not quite fit your taste…
I always relate back to my faith, and I will do so here. The Quran (holy book of Islam) teaches individuals to fear Allah above all else. If we begin to fear all what exists in this materialistic world we would never succeed. This helps me so much, to know that so long as I respect the teachings of my faith, do good and have pure intentions there is no reason for me to hold off taking the leap of faith!
What I am trying to say is do not let the fear of this world and its people and contents stop you from taking the plunge and doing good. Use the fear as a catalyst to achieve what you want from this world.
One thought on “The Fear of Public Scrutiny”
The reality is that, during both the Obama and Clinton years, highly racialized and punitive systems thrived under liberal presidents who were given the benefit of the doubt by those who might otherwise have been critics. Obama and Clinton’s public displays of affection for communities of color, the egalitarian values they preached and their liberal or progressive stances on other issues helped to shield these vast systems of control from close scrutiny. Many of us saw these presidents as “good people” with our best interests at heart, doing what they could to navigate a political environment in which only limited justice is possible. All of these factors played a role, but one was key: These systems grew with relatively little political resistance because people of all colors were willing to tolerate the disposal of millions of individuals once they had been labeled criminals in the media and political discourse. This painful reality suggests that ending our nation’s habit of creating enormous systems of racial and social control requires us to expand our sphere of moral concern so widely that none of us, not even those branded criminals, can be viewed or treated as disposable.