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How to Start Saying No When You’re Afraid of Disapproval

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“Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free.” ~Robert Tew When I say that my need for people to like me has been one of the hidden rulers of my life, I’m not kidding!

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted everyone to like me, and I had significant anxiety if they didn’t. My fear of the disapproval of others quietly lurked beneath the surface like a shadow under my skin, dictating my behavior and my mood. I was so afraid of the disapproval of others that I would ruminate over inconsequential things I had said to people and tiny actions I had taken, trying to determine if they might have been received in ways that could have ignited disappointment or rejection. Nowadays, when I think back to that version of me, with the need for people to like me running my life, I feel a wave of compassion.

It was that version of me who decided to go through with a marriage I knew was not right for me because I was afraid people would be disappointed or disapproving if I decided to back out of my engagement.

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