The Judgement of Google

I have a very real issue with judgement.

In what may seem like a twisted form of narcissism, I often feel people are judging me, be it consciously or unconsciously. This causes me to not do certain things, or to at least put them off or complain a lot while I’m doing them. Now, we all judge. We judge all the time. It’s how we navigate our world, constantly evaluating properties and conditions so we can make efficient and productive paths towards our goals. So when I talk about feeling judged all the time, it’s significant only in that it adversely affects my behavior and mood.

Judgement can be as innocuous as feeling awkward getting a haircut, which I do, but it’s a powerful force nonetheless, and it happens to me a lot. One recent example is when I submitted a bug to the Chromium project (i.e. Google Chrome web browser). I found a weird bug (mentioned here) and complained to a friend about it. He encouraged me to submit a bug, because, you know, it might actually help accomplish the task of fixing it.

I know this, of course, but I was reticent. Why? Judgement. To submit a bug in this fashion is to 1) admit you think something about an application is wrong in a public forum, 2) assert you know why that something is wrong, and 3) deliver this message in the proper format to a community most likely inundated with requests already. My fear is that my bug submission is potentially mis-informed and ill-described, and that to go through with submitting it is to publicly attach my name to it, potentially marking me as, at best, a noob or, at worst, an idiot. I’m not a great programmer, so why waste my time assuming I know enough to say something is wrong? The rational side of me knows most of this to be hogwash, but the irrational side has an axe. And it knows how to brandish it.

I know I shouldn’t care about what others think, but I’m probably never going to accept a world where that is true for me. The community before I showed up was well-established and had a thriving mass of content. The list of bugs submitted is long. My presence potentially upsets that. In addition, even throwing my judgement neurosis out the window, my contribution may just be ignored. In sum, if I go through with it I most likely will just end up with negative judgment neurosis badgering as well as the bug not getting fixed. My conclusion? Leave it be and deal with the bug until someone else with more courage and confidence discovers it and fixes it, or use a workaround.

Avoidance is always easier than confrontation.

In the end, I submitted the bug, but not without overanalyzing my submission for half an hour, which included asking my friend how best to word some things :-P I still doubt it will get noticed, let alone fixed, and my judgement neurosis remains unchanged. All in all, the pessimist in me considers this whole affair a fail.

Note: issues discussed on the Internet using text often magnify the severity of said issue.

2 thoughts on “The Judgement of Google

  1. “I shouldn’t care what others think.”

    For me, that’s the prop that spins up and rolls the anxiety plane off the runway. “Should” statements… they can be really dangerous. They’re an internal judgment, causing us to question, punish, and criticize ourselves. I’ve learned to stop every “should” statement and really, really think about it.

    We’re told all the time not to care what others think, but you’re right in that judgment is one of those human things that happens all the time. People do think things about us, and sometimes negative things; in my mind, if you’re a sensitive person, want to be socially/empathetically successful, and have had psyche-molding experiences with judgment, it seems natural that you’re going to care what others think. Feedback can be useful and help us grow, and we have to be open to it. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But yes, when the terror of someone else’s slim perspective of our personhood really begins to disrupt everyday life, it is an issue. And a tricky one to sort out. I just think this is a cool process to read about, and it’s clear that you’re thinking through it in a thorough way. Just don’t punish yourself too much. :)

    Congratulations on submitting the bug. You didn’t avoid it – you powered on through, potential judgment and all! That takes balls.

    • Thanks, Candice. Most of life seems like it’s just a process of learning to not care about negativity and judgement from others, perceived or imagined. It’s a battle that will be waged my entire life, but others interjecting like this about it always helps.

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