It is a great struggle for me, as a veterinarian to consistently perceive my clients are judging me. Am I good enough? Do I know what I am talking about? Can I trust you? Your scrubs don’t fit right. Your hair looks great today. Did you lose weight? In my conscious, surely in the recesses of my subconscious is the fear of judgement. As my young daughter often says, don’t judge me.
Recently I cared for a patient that my colleague had been seeing. This client was very pleasant, but I was immediately triggered by the fact that her dog was co-owned with a breeder who required all decisions be run through the breeder. This started my initial trigger that someone not even in the room with me was now going to judge me.
I gave the client my diagnosis and treatment options and we seemed to agree. Then the perceived judgement began. The owner proceeded to call the breeder and run my diagnosis and treatment plan by her to get her approval. The breeder questioned everything I wanted to do up to the medicine I wanted to use. Up went my hackles.
Triggered. You came to me with a problem you wanted fixed. I offer you the solution and then you question me. I don’t like that feeling. I perceive that feeling as judgement.
Fear of judgement is one of my biggest wounds to heal. It brings up feelings of being a young child and being left out, of friends not inviting me to the party, of parents questioning my friends and boyfriend choices, of proving my worth to be on the team, of getting accepted into universities and graduate programs, of having other parents question my parenting technique and the list goes on.
Why do I care so much what others think? Because it hurts. It hurts when you don’t heal old deep wounds. It hurts when old coping mechanisms are to push that hurt way down deep and bury it with the weight, literally, of yourself.
The solution, of course, is to heal the wounds. How? I am slowly healing those wounds through some deep, unique processing techniques I am learning through life coaching. I used those techniques as I waited in my office while the owner was in an hour text and phone conversation deciding if I was to be trusted with the dog’s care.
With every trigger or wound you must find the root source. I figure out where that feeling of judgment is rooted. It is rooted in old childhood wounds of not being liked, fear of judgement and fear of being wrong.
Next, I identify how I wanted to feel. I wanted to feel respected and trusted.
Then, I then identify the actions and thoughts to feel respected and trusted. I set some boundaries with the client. I was lovingly able to let her know I understood her distrust of me, we had just met. I also understood that she wasn’t the sole decision maker in this process. I did let her know that I was her pet’s doctor that she chose, with only the pet’s best interest at hand. I did respectfully express I would not let the breeder dictate how I was going to practice medicine. If we couldn’t agree to that fact then perhaps, she needed to discuss finding a veterinarian that could better serve them, one they both trusted together.
Finally, I asked myself “what do I really want”? The answer I got back is, to be me. To be happy being me. I processed that this continued fear of judgement was getting me nowhere to the place of authenticity that I want to be living and it was blocking me from being an amazing veterinarian.
I am learning that my brain is pre-programmed to keep playing this nasty trick of fear of judgement on me. With tools, I am learning how to re-program it daily.
My brain functions to keep me safe. My brain only has old memories and actions to pull from its file cabinet to keep me safe. The reality is, I am safe. Even in the moments when a client is questioning or judging me, I am nothing but safe.
So what does my brain do when I am authentic? What is my brain programmed to think when I am just being me? Due to old memories and actions it thinks I am getting attention, that everyone is watching and judging me. They are all looking at me. Like the recurrent dream of being naked in a room of strangers. They are all watching and judging.
My brain must be re-programmed and told they aren’t judging me and I am safe being me. How do I re-program my brain? By re-writing those old files to new ones. By continuing to show up in my life. By doing my live videos, by participating in my life, in my coaching groups, in all the Facebook groups I am in and by writing and sharing it all. Sharing my life. Judge away world. I am safe! I am just being me.
This client wasn’t the issue but did trigger my fear of judgement. By addressing and identifying the trigger, getting to the root source of that trigger, identifying how I wanted to feel and then setting some clear thoughts and actions, I can re-program my brain to get to the wanted feeling. I am well on my way to just being me.
How to move through my fear of judgment.