Detecting and Dispersing Disapproval

Disapproval is a subtle one.

It’s often harder to detect than anger – its shouty, ranty cousin.

It slips under our radar, disquised as a “but” at the end of another otherwise loving sentence.

  • “I love my girlfriend but…”
  • “We have a great life but…”

or perhaps an “if only”:

  • “I’d love her so much more if only…”
  • “We’d be much happier if only…”

This is disapproval.

As I’ve been continuing to clear up a recent (now ex) relationship, I realised – I was wrong before.

Or rather – I didn’t have the complete picture.

It’s not only resentment that kills relationships. It’s disapproval too.

Resentment is easy to see. It’s big. It’s obvious. Every argument you have – that’s resentment.

Disapproval can easily masquerade as a background wistfulness. A quiet wish for something different, better, other. A thought ignored.

But disapproval leads to a withholding of love.

It’s conditional love.

“I’d love you more if…”

It’s trying to change the other person (which never really works). It’s trying to control them (always a bad idea). It’s judgemental.

Only once you’ve let go of disapproval can you move into acceptance. Into a true state of lovingness.

So, how do we do this?

It’s actually pretty easy.

Just say to yourself “I disapprove of [their name]…” and watch how your brain fills in the gap:

  • “I disapprove of [them] when they…”
  • “I disapprove of their…”
  • “I wish they’d…”
  • “I’d love them more if they…”

Whatever your mind fills in, just repeat it, and let it go. Let the accompanying energy go (you’ll feel tightness or pressure – stress energy, if you will, when you say it).

Keep doing it until you don’t care about that issue any more. Then try the starter phrase (or another) again, and see what else comes up.

Doing this with my recent relationship, I was utterly shocked at how many things I uncovered. I think I’m finally understanding why she left. Who’d want to stick around if they could feel that much negative energy firing at them?

And this was despite me consciously choosing and working damn hard at (ie, dropping my own crap so I could be) loving her as much as I possibly could.


There’s a little bit of Mr Gate Closer Horse McBolterson going on here, but the way I figure it – if I’m having those thoughts about her, well, I’m sure I’m also having them about other people…

…like myself?

And once again, we come back to our most important relationship.

The one we have with ourselves.

Have a go. Get quiet, say the phrases above (but aimed at yourself) and see what your brain fills in.

  • “I disapprove when I…”
  • “I disapprove that I haven’t…”
  • “I disapprove that I…”
  • “I disapproving of my…”
  • “I disapproving of how I handled…”
  • “I disapprove that I never…”

If it’s anything like my experience, you’ll be alternately shocked – and then relieved once it’s gone. You’ll know it’s gone when you can say the exact same phrase and feel no reaction at all.

When you can say all of the phrases above and have your brain add nothing? That’s when you know you’re getting really clear.

Ever wonder why you feel crappy half the time for no particular reason? Yeah. It’s internal noise like this. It doesn’t help.

Fortunately, just bringing it into the light is really all that needs be done to get rid of it. You could use EFT if you feel like something needs a solid bash, but generally just letting it go is enough.

What’s the advantage to dumping disapproval?

Well, we’re all looking for approval (love). Once we let go of disapproving of ourselves, it leaves the gate open for us to unconditionally love ourselves. That self-love becomes effortless and automatic, instead of an ongoing daily battle.

It’s also always, always a much better idea to be self-loving than be looking to others to provide this approval. After all, we’re the only ones who will be with us every second for the rest of our lives.