Doubt and insecurity often come from fear of what people might think of our decisions. 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. As you face your fear of disapproval, you will become stronger. Keep in mind that the fear of disapproval is a fear and not always a fact. We may believe that others won’t like or accept us, but it isn’t always true.
The Wish to Avoid
Because rejection and disapproval are painful, there is a temptation to avoid it. This may include minimizing your faults and exaggerating your accomplishments. These are attempts to avoid being seen by others as inadequate or inferior. Resist the urge to avoid all situations that may lead to interpersonal conflict or criticism. Instead, keep realistic expectations knowing that everyone experiences critique and correction.
The fear of disapproval is often accompanied by negative self-talk and self-defeating behaviors. People may say demeaning things to themselves about themselves. This in turn can lead to avoidance patterns, interpersonal conflicts, and low self-esteem. Engaging in negative thinking and repeating pessimistic thoughts about yourself is very harmful. You can learn to better recognize and refuse negative thoughts and label them as irrational, distortions, or misperceptions. After you identify these thoughts, replace them with statements of self-acceptance.
You Have Been Pre-approved
Rejection and disapproval are contagious. Many people will take your lead. If you disapprove of yourself, they seem to jump on the band wagon and join your negative appraisal. You must lead others to see you in a positive light. Increasing confidence, assurance, and security is a skill that can be developed. See yourself as pre-approved rather than approaching situations with fear of rejection. You are getting stronger and are making progress. See yourself as adequate and competent. When you do, you’ll get stronger and become increasingly more confident.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!