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Authentic Life™by Felipe Oliveira


Can Fear be Beneficial for Personal Development?

Formation of the Personalities

It is important to say that the fears are all connected with the wound of the heart, which generates pain, and with that, it creates the specific fear that led one to act in a certain way, forming his personality. It is as if our personality (not our True Selves) has been created out of fear. This makes me think that is what we are so afraid of: if we let go our fear, what will we become without our personality? The fear of not knowing is so intense, that most people (including myself) create an addictive system based on insecurities where it is accepted and perceived as useful and normal. That is well explored by the movie Matrix when Morpheus says that the human race is so trapped that they are willing to protect and ready to die for the system.

The 9 Central Fears

Fear is the number one blockage to live a life from the Authentic Self. What are we so afraid of?

I like to describe all types of fears through the Enneagram - an ancient spiritual tool that describes 9 types of personalities. According to Russ Hudson (one of authorities in Enneagram) the basic fears are: 1. fear of being bad, corrupt, evil, or defective; 2. fear of being unworthy of being loved; 3. fear of being worthless or without inherent value; 4. fear of being without identity or personal significance; 5. fear of being useless, incapable, or incompetent; 6. fear of being without support or guidance; 7. fear of being deprived or trapped in pain; 8. fear of being harmed or controlled by others; 9. fear of losing connection, of fragmentation (1999, p.32).

Out of these nine fears, each one of us has one these as the predominant one. As an example, my biggest fear is of loss connection, of fragmentation, followed by being bad, defective and, being controlled by others (I hate this last one, it really triggers me).

Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for men seeking to live an Authentic Life™.

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Felipe Oliveira provides counselling for men to face and learn from their fears. Click here to know more about his work . Or, please, continue reading this short article about the meaningful place fear can take  men.

What’s the difference between fear and anxiety?

Another important point is the similarities between anxiety and fear. In my opinion, they are almost tween sisters. I have said before that anxiety is the fear of not knowing, and the fear of the future. When I wrote about loneliness, I spoke about the loneliness anxiety which is the fear of being abandoned. As you can see, fear, anxiety, loneliness, aloneness are all part of the same family. They are very close to each other.

Kraft was the one that clarifies the difference between fear and anxiety. He says that “in contrast to anxiety, fear is usually a response to a particular person, place, or event. Anxiety is more general and free-floating, where fear is usually specific and concrete. Since we are fearful of something, we can often articulate and manage fear” (2000, p. 50).

He claims that fear and anxiety are one of the many ‘desert languages’, and each one has a positive aspect. I would complement saying that it would only work positively if one is awake and aware enough to develop self-knowledge from it.

Psychological Fear & Spiritual Fear

Kraft divides the language of fear into psychological and spiritual fear. Psychological fear “is an appropriate response to what can harm us. Such fear can mobilize our defenses to protect ourselves. Out of fear, we can learn to set boundaries that maintain our safety and allow for successful management. Instead of being paralyzed by fear, we listen to what we are afraid of and think of ways to handle what threatens our well-being” (2000, p.50).

Spiritual fear is a quite philosophical theory, which is basically when we fear nothing. That’s the moment when nothing makes sense, and the fear of the possibility of life remains relatively meaningless. “We can be afraid that we will not be able to manage a life without purpose” (Kraft, 2000, p. 50). That is one of the fears most men face, as there is a huge struggle in men finding their core purpose in life.

Courage in Response to Fear

The Spiritual fear is the most important one, as it leads to Courage ( Cour: from the heart plus age: action. It means Action from the Heart ). Since men love to be in a position of power, Spiritual Fear takes them to a position of powerlessness, to let them know they are not in control of their lives, they are going to die, life is hard, life is not about them and they are not that important. It is in this great surrendered moment, that, paradoxically, our fears strengthen us. It becomes the most powerful and authentic journey a man must embrace, as it is the descent into the underworld that takes courage in response to fear.

The opposite of Love is Fear, and not hate as many of us think. That shows the other side of the coin of Fear. Now, I will finish with this poem of the great Australian mystic and poet Michael Leunig: Love and Fear.


Hudson, Russ. 1999. The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types.

Kraft, William F. 2000. The Ways of the Desert: Becoming Holy Through Difficult Times.

Photo by Sharon Garcia on Unsplash

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