Deborah Frances-White shares her top piece of advice for overcoming our fear of judgement

Posted by for People

Deborah Frances-White, host of The Guilty Feminist podcast and book, shares her advice on how to overcome our fear of judgement and become less self-conscious, especially at work.

Deborah Frances-White knows a thing or two about success. In the last couple of years Frances-White has turned her podcast The Guilty Feminist, which she continues to host, into a bestselling book, hosted Stylist’s first Remarkable Women Awards and presented a TEDx talk on confidence. Basically, she’s been incredibly busy.

But that hasn’t stopped her from continuing to be one of the most down-to-earth, relatable and hilarious women we know. Alongside all the things she’s achieved over the years, she’s also taken the time to share some cracking advice on everything from how to be more confident to how to stop being afraid of failure.

And now she’s back with yet another incredible piece of insight to add to our toolbox: how to overcome our fear of judgement and control our feelings of self-consciousness.

Because whenever we’re feeling self-conscious, embarrassed or uncomfortable because of an event or social situation, it’s so easy to imagine we’re the only ones feeling that way. After all, when we’re worrying about the way we look, what other people think of us or how we sound, it’s pretty hard to consider what anyone else is really thinking or feeling. 

But, as Frances-White explained at Stylist Live LUXE, we need to remember that we’re not alone in feeling this way.

Deborah Frances-White
Deborah Frances-White: “We all walk into rooms fearing the constant judgement of everyone else.”

“We all walk into rooms fearing the constant judgement of everyone else, but nobody comes to a networking event going ‘okay, who can I judge? Who’s not up to it? Who shouldn’t be here?’” she explained. “If they are, you don’t want to know them, but very few people are doing that. Everyone’s going in thinking ‘how do people feel about me?’”

Having established the fact that everyone in the room probably isn’t judging you for being there – especially when you’ve been invited – Frances-White went on to explain how we can tackle the critic in our head that makes us feel unwelcome. 

“When we’re self-conscious we censor ourselves, so we make the event all about us, and it’s paralysing,” she continued. “The best thing you can do instead of asking ‘will I be included? Who will include me?’, is to turn it around and say ‘I’m invited to this party, I’m already invited, my name’s on the door, I’ve got a name badge and half a glass of warm white wine; all of the paraphernalia says I’m included, so I’m going to assume inclusion’.

“Then, I’m going to look around the room and say ‘who doesn’t look happy to be here? Who looks anxious? Who looks a bit defensive or bored?’, and then I’m going walk over to that person and I’m going to include them. I am going to make that person feel more relaxed, happier to be there, more interested, more listened to and more loved… You just turn the consciousness around, and direct it.”

Basically, when we decide to take the focus off of our nerves and focus our efforts on helping someone else, it’s easier for us to realise that everyone has a fear of judgement, and it’s okay to feel that way. After all, there’s no point in beating ourselves up about feeling worried or uncomfortable – instead, let’s help each other feel more included in situations we know are difficult. That way, everyone wins. 

Don’t miss out: sign up to the Stylist Daily email for a curated edit of brilliant content every day

philosophy is the wellbeing beauty brand inspiring you to look, live and feel your best, and is the official partner of Stylist’s Remarkable Women Awards 2020.

Images: Getty, Bronac McNeill

Share this article

Recommended by Lauren Geall