I also want to add two more thoughts. Learn how to assess risk and consequences honestly and in an objectified manner. Then develop a safety protocol. I read a quote from Ed Viesturs once (big mountain climber) when asked why he had survived so many 8000 meter expeditions while scores of his peers had died, to paraphrase him " Based on my safety protocol there were times and conditions where I choose not to climb where others did and died". He didn't have a lower tolerance for risk - he took the same risks and accomplished his goals but in safer conditions. The same holds true for paddling. It's ok to walk some days. I did an Upper Animas trip at high water with a incredible paddler once who choose to walk the tracks out of Rockwood instead of dropping into the gorge because for whatever reason, he wasn't feeling it. This is a guy who has first descents around the world. It's okay to walk if you want.
There all kinds of risks to assess on the river - weather, water temperature, water level, exposure, remoteness, gradient, sieves, strainers and so on. Your safety protocol should take all these of into account - stand alone and overall in conjunction with each other along with experience to guide your risk assessment process.
Also, be honest in your abilities, your limitations and your concerns. It will help you progress however you want. Some people will move beyond and progress to more difficult whitewater while others will be satisfied with their status quo. It's all good- its boating