“Don’t give in to your fears. If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.” ― Paulo Coelho

This is my fourth post in the series “are any of theses five fears holding you back.” Please share if any of these fears have been a challenge for you.

Remember when you were a child how happy you felt when something you did pleased your parents, teachers, or other adults ( I have pleasant memories of  this, especially with my mom).

You formed an association between the pleasure you felt and pleasing adults. They reinforced it with praises and happy smiles.  You learned quickly what made them happy and what disappointed them.

This is a healthy attitude when you’re a child

At that age, adults were wiser and smarter than you (we hope), and doing what they wanted made good sense. You were at the beginning stages of knowing the difference between right and wrong, what was or wasn’t acceptable. Your critical and rational thinking were just developing.

Does your fear of disappointing others influence important decisions?

Making decisions because you’re afraid of disappointing someone is not healthy for adults.(or any fear-based decision for that matter)

If you examine your fear you’ll discover that it has less to do with disappointing someone and more to do with avoiding shame, discomfort, humiliation, looking foolish, avoiding criticism, believing you’re not good enough, avoiding conflict, or losing love and affection.

Early in life you experienced discomfort and pain when someone close to you reacted negatively to something you did or didn’t do, said or didn’t say.

You formed the belief that doing things your way – having a voice, being authentic, leads to discomfort and pain. This limiting belief feeds your fear and your focus now is to avoid the pain and to seek pleasure. Your pleasure of choice is pleasing others, even if it means suppressing your own needs, and damaging your self-esteem and self-confidence.

How to overcome your fear of disappointing others

Changing unwanted habits and behaviors is liberating. However, you have to be willing to deal with the discomfort of leaving your comfort zone.

1. Make the decision to embrace your fear of disappointing others. Don’t hide or run from it.

2. Pay attention to the decisions you make because of this fear.

3. Write them down.

4. Write down the decisions you’d make if you weren’t fearful

5.  Begin to create a new habit of making decisions that are authentic.

6.  Give yourself permission to fail and keep making powerful choices.

7. Stay courageous and break through your resistance to make this change. Courage is not the absent of fear, it’s feeling the fear and taking action in spite of the fear.

8. Practice being responsive to your desires – speak in the first person, I want, I desire, I need etc.  These words will empower and inspire you.

9. Allow yourself to be OK when others disapprove of your decisions.

10. Take action to build your self-confidence and self-esteem. You’ll remain strong when rejection is handed to you.

11. Applaud your progress. Be willing to take baby steps (if this works for you) to free yourself from this fear. Also, be willing to take giant steps (if this fits your personality).

If you need help with letting go of this or any other fear, there are several programs that can help you: hypnosis, neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), emotional freedom technique (EFT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or speak to a coach or a counselor for guidance.

Other resources

You may find something useful in my other posts in this series:

Fear of being judged

Fear of rejection

Fear of humiliation

Fear of Success

Dr. Phil McGraw has written an article that gives some helpful tips on overcoming your fears here.

It’s a wrap

Fears have to do with your internal dialogue – they are fed by your thoughts. Many of your fears are irrational, more often than not, what you fear never happens.

Change your thinking and you will change your life. Sounds easy but for most it’s difficult, you may need help to make this happen. If you do, don’t hesitate, a fear-based life can affect your health and well-being. Fear keeps you stuck, the opposite is life transforming.

Your turn

Do you make decisions based on the fear of disappointing someone?

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Are your fears keeping you stuck ? If you answered yes, you’ll benefit from my FREE strategy session. Contact me today. You’ll be glad you did.

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