What will people think?

Nov 13, 2020

An unwanted consequence for many widowed people is being thrust into the public eye. Friends, family and acquaintances watch carefully-  and mostly lovingly-  as our life after loss unfolds. Yet realistically we can also be a favorite source of gossip.

After profound loss, our brain’s main goal is to protect us, which kicks a fear-based mindset into overdrive. Add to that the fear of being judged and it’s not hard to feel paralyzed, lost and alone.

She is acting like nothing ever happened.

Looks like she got over him quickly.

She’s already out having lunch……with a man.

Shouldn’t she be at home grieving?

Anytime we fear being judged by others, we are revealing an area in which we have judgement about ourselves. And anytime someone’s judgement of us cuts like a knife, deep down, at some level, we are in agreement with them.

For example, if I told you that I really dislike your purple hair, that it looks terrible on you, you would look confused, wonder about my vision and never give it another thought. Because clearly your hair is not purple. But if I say anything that you even remotely agree with, my words would sting.

I must not be grieving “correctly.”

The length of my misery is an indicator of the depth of my love for him.

If I feel happy, then I must be "over it."

How could I possibly have feelings for another man?

Fear of judgement, and actual judgement from others feels horrible, but invites us to take a closer look at ourselves, our beliefs and our areas of self-judgement. It’s an opportunity if we choose to see it as such.

When you are afraid to be judged, ask yourself how you are already judging yourself in this area.

When you are feeling hurt by judgement, dig deep and uncover the ways in which you are in agreement. Decide if these thoughts  are both true and serving you. If not, remember that all thoughts are 100% optional. It’s time to find alternate thoughts that are authentic and true for you.

In our life-before-loss, many of us outsourced our confidence to our husbands. If he approved, then we felt confident and self-assured. Reconstructing our life after loss means being our own source of confidence. It means having our own backs. The more we love our decisions, the less we need others to love them.

Profound loss casts a dividing line in our lives which clearly marks the before and the after. In the after, everything changes. Much of which is horrific but some of which can serve us. We get to make new rules. We can become fierce editors of who and what we allow in our lives. We can become a new version of ourselves who needs no approval. And then we learn to simply be us and let the world adjust accordingly.

If you’re paralyzed with fear of judgement and need some extra support to find your confidence again, my six-month private coaching program called Life Reconstructed can help. If you’re ready to commit to a dramatic change for the better, simply click here and we’ll see if it’s a fit.

Learn more about Life Reconstructed.

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