Insight for the Journey: Conquer Your Fear of Disapproval

Insight for the Journey: Conquer Your Fear of Disapproval

It is not always easy to be self-assured and confident. Many people move through life with numerous doubts and insecurities. You may doubt yourself, others, or the world around you. Perhaps you look at certain people with suspicion and distrust, sure you will be excluded or rejected. Feeling unwanted, inferior, and inadequate reduces self-assurance and causes people to be hesitant in their interactions with others. The fear of disapproval can destroy creativity, increase social avoidance, cause constant second guessing, and rob you of the simple joys of living life. 

Getting Stronger 

Doubt and insecurity often come from our fear of what people will think of the decisions we make. This can make us cautious, hesitant, and passive. It is important to continually work on being independent and assertive. Although it is nice to have everyone’s approval, it rarely, if ever, occurs. Look for those who affirm and encourage you, and minimize your attention on the disapproval and criticism coming from those who do not know you well. As you face your fear of disapproval, you will become stronger. Resist the urge to avoid all situations that may lead to interpersonal conflict. 

Engage in Positive Self-Talk 

Engaging in negative thinking and repeating negative thoughts about yourself is very harmful. Ask yourself if the doubts are realistic or if you are overreacting. Challenge your self-doubts and worries. Rehearsing past mistakes and inadequacies only increases your fear of disapproval. Labeling your-self as stupid, worthless, and insignificant creates future relational difficulties. Identify the negative appraisal, and if it is unrealistic, refuse to entertain it. You can get better at recognizing and refusing negative thoughts and labeling them as irrational, distortions, or misperceptions. After you identify these thoughts, replace them with something positive and practice the positive substitution. 

Be Determined 

Increasing confidence, assurance, and security is a skill that can be developed. It is futile to attempt to live in a world that presents you with easy to solve, surefire, 100% guaranteed, mistake-free decisions that always feel right. Likewise, you will never have everyone’s understanding and approval. Instead, we can manage our anxiety, work down our insecurities, and overcome our fear of disapproval. When you do, everyday interactions with others get easier and you grow into a person who is strong and confident. 

Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!