Category Archives: Fear of Disapproval

Why Don’t We Complain

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Have we become more stressed or more Zen-like?

Sure, we all tend to complain about ourselves–our day, our health, our work. That’s a real catharsis when we’re able to destress and release our frustrations. Life’s not fair, and that often is expressed with a justified complaint.

When it comes to inconveniences or less than ideal service, however, mostIMG_3285 people are preferring to go with the flow and let it go. Why don’t we complain? Have we become more compassionate towards those workers in front of us, seeing them as co-habitants of stressful living? Cutting them slack is like an invisible nod of I feel the strain of your job. 

An aversion to confrontation can also be a reason why we don’t complain. People would rather adjust to a defect or go without their request rather than object and risk an altercation. Why don’t we complain? It may be related to how stressed we are and a matter of picking our battles.

In 1961, William F. Buckley, Jr. wrote an essay that describes his amusing struggle to assert himself, called “Why Don’t We Complain?” It originally appeared in Esquire in 1960. He wrote:

Every New Year’s Eve I resolve to do something about the Milquetoast in me and vow to speak up, calmly, for my rights and for the betterment of our society, on every appropriate occasion… When our voices are finally mute, when we have finally suppressed the natural instinct to complain, whether vexation is trivial or grave, we shall have become automatons, incapable of feeling. (Read his entire essay here.)

One of Buckley’s reasons, 55 years ago, for why Americans didn’t complain was due to a reluctance to assert ourselves because of an increased sense of helplessness in an age of technology and centralized political power.

10d69f3e-9b69-4700-9155-2f934eb05151-mediumI can see how that conclusion may no longer be why we don’t complain. There may be people who don’t verbalize what they really think because they don’t want to make a fuss and be thought as difficult. The problem with that plan is that the people who really need to be heard, won’t be. If they don’t share what they think, how will they be heard?

As American’s, we must assert ourselves for the cause of equality and the demonstration of human kindness. Any abatement from this basic human right deserves complaint. Otherwise, we fail as a society.

FullSizeRender (5)Think about it.

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay unless otherwise noted

 

Fear of Disapproval Remedy – Dr. Sandy Nelson

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In the Introduction to A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of a Course in Miracles, Marianne Williamson writes Love is what we are born with. Fear is what we learn.1513222_879994992058784_1395873912393926812_n

I agree. This is a fear we are all acquainted with.

Fear is what we learned when well-meaning adults physically punished us for our childhood mistakes.

Fear is what we learned when our honesty was disapproved of by the showing of rejection.

Fear is what we learned when our trust was violated thanks to the betrayal of others.

Fear is what we learned when we made our well-being dependent on anyone but ourselves.

IMG_2957The more we need someone’s agreement in our lives, the more consumed by fear we become when we sense their disapproval or rejection. There’s enough scary aspects of life today that we have little control over. But we don’t have to be scared of someone’s opinion of us or fear someone’s disapproval.

The more anchored we are in the vast amount of love we’re born with, the less we care about what others think. The fear of someone’s disapproval doesn’t have to rock our boat when we are focused on our own self-respect and significance.

Try it. When you have a different opinion than someone else today, express it calmly and kindly. Then ask the other person why they hold the opinion they do. Seek to understand and allow the differences between you.

Respect and honor YOUR views and your self-respect will increase. Seek to understand and respect the opinions of other people and they will admire you. Soon your fear of disapproval will fade and you’ll be less dependent on the approval of other people.

Think about it.

 

drsandy@e-couch.net  ♦  ©All rights reserved 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net  ♦  Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com unless otherwise indicated