Fear of disappointing others: causes and how to deal with it

The fear of disappointing others leads us to question everything we do. For this reason, it paralyzes us and prevents us from moving forward.

Last update: November 25, 2021

Sometimes, the doubts to make a decision come from the fear of disappointing others. This is not surprising, since much of our education aims to act in consideration of others.

In fact, taking other people into account is fine, up to a point. However, when the situation turns against us, or prevents us from doing the things we want, it can become an obstacle. How to deal with this?

What is the fear of disappointing others?

The fear of disappointing others is related to the fear of ceasing to be accepted or appreciated when we do not please other people. This situation brings with it problems, since we are exposed to insecurity, uncertainty and the inability to do or not do certain actions.

In this way, we get involved in a loop of questions that reinforce this insecurity. Over time, this puts us in check, paralyzes us, and prevents us from moving forward.

The fear of disappointing others can make us doubt our decisions. In the long run, this becomes an obstacle.


Causes of fear of disappointing others

Some of the causes that maintain the fear of disappointing others are the following:

  • An authoritarian, demanding and repressive education.
  • Being too perfectionists.
  • Low self-esteem, impoverished.
  • Unsafety.
  • Ashamed to show ourselves as we are.

Possible consequences

Without a doubt, living pending the satisfaction of others has consequences for personal development and growth. In addition, it is tremendously exhausting, since no matter how much effort is involved, it can be difficult to achieve. Some of the consequences are as follows:

  • Lead an inauthentic life in which your own wants and needs take a back seat.
  • Stop committing ourselves to our dreams or our projects for fear that they will not turn out well, because of what they say about us.
  • Stay anchored in the comfort zone; where we know that we are safe and that we all please.
  • Keep under stress, with the feeling of being observed and judged by others, which prevents us from being spontaneous.

How to cope with the fear of disappointing others

There are some strategies to begin to cope with the fear of disappointing others. Nevertheless, If the problem is not solved with your own resources, it is best to go to the psychologist.

Determine what is the basis of that fear

Fear of rejection? To be left alone? Many times that fear has an irrational basis, with consequences that are not real. When we begin to question those thoughts, we can allow ourselves to challenge the associated emotions and think of other possible alternatives.

Record emotions

Make a record of the emotions we experience when we respond to please others. This allows us to detect what leads us to make decisions that we do not want. Later, we will realize that it is not healthy at all. All these negative emotions cause discomfort and threaten the quality of life.

Break expectations

Disappoint them… of what? It is important to understand that many times people make images of us that are not (nor do they have to be) a reflection of reality. They are simply projections of your own longings, desires, or fears placed on others.

So it is important to recognize that that disappointment responds more to what they think we are, than what we really are. Holding that image or that reflection is not our duty, and much less if what is at stake is our own happiness.

Accept that we will not always like

Most of us have been brought up to please. This is how many times we act complacently. However, to put an end to the fear of disappointing others, the first thing is to accept ourselves and, above all, accept that we will not always like everyone. It is better to be comfortable and at ease with few people, than to be little genuine just to sustain more relationships.

Recognize our rights

It seems obvious, but many times we forget that we have rights as people; to make our decisions, to choose, to say no, to be respected.

Learn to set limits

Although we can maintain a respectful and considerate attitude towards those around us, This does not imply that we must comply with your requests. It will also be important to work on blame and learn to set limits from assertiveness.

Every healthy relationship is built with limits. It is important to establish them whenever one of the parties wants everything at their convenience.


Free ourselves from disappointment

Freeing ourselves from the fear of disappointing others also frees us from our own disappointment, from that fear of not being enough. Even, it also takes us away from the demands we have on others, even if it is unconsciously.

It is important to be more benevolent and less demanding with ourselves and with others. Also understand that in a “yes” or a “no” a relationship is not played. We are worth much more than isolated acts, and we need to begin to recognize this. With all this, we will establish fruitful and lasting relationships.

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