Subtle Disapproval

Recently I had the occasion of feeling ‘subtle disapproval’ from someone, the reason in this case a television program that I mentioned I watched.  I then thought of some other times in my life I have felt this, for various reasons.

There’s maybe those decisions that you have made, and someone who you’re speaking to, listens and nods, but really doesn’t offer any positive feedback. They don’t say that you’ve made a mistake; nonetheless you ‘feel’ the words unspoken.

Sometimes you buy that absolutely perfect dress or outfit and can’t wait to show it to someone and you can tell from their reaction that they don’t think it’s so perfect. All of a sudden you decide you should take another look at it and think that maybe it isn’t so great after all. It makes you look fat or the color isn’t right.

Christians are just as prone to silent or subtle disapproval as well, not only to perhaps non-Christians but to other Christians too. I have been on both sides …the recipient and the giver I’m sure. We all have our beliefs and determine what is ‘right’ for us to do or say etc; but when we decide that others are definitely wrong and we are right, we fall into the trap of ‘subtle disapproval’ and if we don’t watch out the next thought could be that of being judgmental.

I’ve learned to accept and not compare myself,  but sometimes when I feel those ‘vibes’ toward something I said or did my first instinct is that I need to defend myself. Fortunately now those thoughts don’t last long because I’m secure for the most part in what I decide for my life. If I am wrong then it’s between me and God, but not anyone else.

I think we need to be so careful in how we react to others, because it can cause hurt and doubt in themselves, and it even rob them of joy …….when they feel the subtle or silent disapproval sent their way

26 thoughts on “Subtle Disapproval

  1. I recently felt this ‘subtle disapproval’ from someone I considered a friend. It made me re-think what I’d said, even though others encouraged me in my endeavor. Why this person’s disapproval hit me more keenly than the praise, I don’t understand. One person gives negative feedback, and that’s all I can think about. You’re right. We are all guilty of that, whether we mean to do it or not.


  2. You are so right Diane-we human beings love to point fingers and feel superior,sitting on judgement-as if we are above all imperfections and as if whatever we think or do is oh so right!Silent disapproval is worse than open criticism I feel cos it is all between the lines and one can’t even protest openly for the other person may just say it is in our imagination and deny it.

    Glad that you have reached that level of maturity and are balanced enough to feel secure in your own groove and that you do not let it affect you Diane-am still learning 😉

    Btw,I love the font you are using now for your posts:-)


  3. Sometimes remaining silent is the best thing to do if it means that by saying something causes hurt. I try to leave it at if I nothing encouraging or loving to say then don’t say it although I am still a work in progress. And for those who do not realize what they are doing, I pray for them and accept them for who they are. And definitely do not label people – that is a form of hurtful expression.


    • Hi Patty….More often than not people do not realize what they are doing. And I don’t make an issue of it. Sometimes if it’s someone close and it happens I will address it. I just think it’s worth mentioning because it reminds us all that it’s so easy and doesn’t sometimes take much to make someone feel bad….even without saying a word….


  4. Very interesting observations–I am going to be more careful about subtle disapproval–this could be the kernel of an idea for research because as you say it can be very discouraging–thank you for bringing this to light
    I am well educated, a journalist and consider myself a life long learner–yet I still watch a soap opera that I started watching when I was 14–people make fun of me but it meets a need for me–a constancy


  5. The older I get, the more I understand the importance of keeping my mouth shut if I can’t find something nice to say. More often, I try to find something encouraging to say whenever possible. I think we should be here to be good to each other.


  6. Yet sometimes, there are truly those differences in opinion and beliefs. In cases where one does not want to hurt by words said, it is best to remain silent and just respect what the other decides or chooses. It hurts when people are not always excited and supportive of our choices (and I have been hurt this way many times), but it is just the nature of things. 🙂


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