Fear impacts all of us, and very often holds us back from pursuing the things we really want. If you are one of those people who let their biggest dreams fade away just because you are too afraid to pursue them, this article is for you! We are going to dig deeper and find out what this fear that holds you back looks like. You will learn what your fear archetype is and what you can actually do about it.
Destructive Power Of Fear
Fear is one of the basic human instincts that is supposed to protect us and make us act faster in dangerous situations. But at the same time, fear also inhibits and hinders our self-expression and progress. It is fear that can prevent us from living the life that we dream of and from expressing our full potential. So it turns out that this instinct of self-preservation can ruin our lives.
Everyone’s fear manifests itself in different ways, and people deal with it differently. Ruth Soukup, entrepreneur, and author of “Do It Scared” discovered seven fear archetypes and came up with the best ways to overcome each of them.
Which one describes yours the best? Read on!
7 Fear Archetypes
Fear Archetype #1: Procrastinator
Also known as a perfectionist who tends to postpone things or not start them at all, because they are afraid to do everything imperfectly or make a mistake. And since it doesn’t work out perfectly in most cases, these people prefer not to take on a failed idea or project at all.
This archetype may manifest itself as:
- fear of commitment;
- fear of getting started.
Procrastinators tend to be indecisive when they need to act quickly. Usually, they prefer to plan everything in detail, do research, the organization of the process is more important than the actions themselves. As a result, they have many incomplete and unmanifested ideas and plans and rarely get anything done.
Are you a Procrastinator?
You can consider yourself a procrastinator if you:
- never feel like things are done or ready if you like to plan things way in advance;
- research tends to be more important than the action itself;
- have trouble committing or saying yes to things that are outside of your comfort zone.
What can you do?
- Get out of their comfort zone and say “Yes” more often to everything new, even if it is not planned.
- Set a deadline for when your planning and researching period will end and when you’ll actually get started.
- Realize that the problem with ‘perfect’ is that nothing will ever be good enough.
- Set realistic standards and work towards doing your best.
Fear Archetype #2: The Rule Follower
Such people are dedicated to following the distinct rules and guidelines set by those around them. They’re obsessed with always trying to make the right decision, despite its potential effect on their own success.
The rule followers are very afraid of changes.
They tend to see the world in black and white and feel anxious anytime they sense themselves or other people stepping outside the norms of acceptable behavior. They may also be overly concerned with making sure other people are making good decisions.
The rule followers may avoid taking risks, especially when they are not sure whether there is a “right” path to follow, and their fear of authority may prevent them from coloring outside the lines of trusting their own judgment.
Are you the Rule Follower?
You can consider yourself the rule follower if you:
- like knowing there is an established protocol to follow;
- strongly prefer for things to be done the “right” way;
- spend time worrying about regulations and things not being done correctly.
What can you do?
- get out of the dual perception of the world, stop seeing everything as “either right or wrong”;
- realize the fact that an unknown path can lead to something new and beautiful;
- practice self-compassion;
- realize that it’s OK to make mistakes – this is necessary for your personal growth;
- define your own set of guiding principles instead of always leaning on others or outside factors.
Fear Archetype #3: The People Pleaser
The desire to please everyone arises from a deep fear of being rejected by others. Such people care about what others think of them, and they are very afraid of public condemnation. The worst thing for such people is to be ridiculed or rejected by someone.
The people pleasers are afraid of being judged which also manifests itself as the fear of letting people down and the fear of what other people might say. Essentially, the People Pleaser’s biggest concern can often be summed up as the fear of how others may react.
Are you the People Pleaser?
You can consider yourself the people pleaser if you:
- have a hard time saying no, setting limits, and establishing healthy boundaries;
- are overcommitted;
- allow other people’s priorities and requests to override your own goals and dreams;
- are often worried about looking foolish or being judged;
- worry about letting other people down;
- struggle to disagree when others share an opinion.
What can you do?
- spend more time alone and learn to hear yourself first;
- stop saying “yes” when you want to say “no”;
- learn to set your boundaries when communicating with people;
- realize that you can’t pour from an empty cup, meaning that when you’re in tune with your own wants and desires, you become a better friend, partner, and family member;
- remind yourself that you deserve to be prioritized, just as much as other people in your life.
Fear Archetype #4: Outcast
This is the opposite of those who try to please. Such people, on the contrary, try to be as different as possible, to show their individuality and the fact that they do not care about the opinion of others.
Behind all this is a huge fear of rejection or a fear of trusting other people. This fear archetype manifests itself by rejecting others before they have a chance to be rejected.
While to outside observers, the Outcast often appears to be fearless, inwardly he often believes other people can’t be counted on or trusted and he tends to view even the mildest slight or dismissal as confirmation of that belief, which in turn causes the Outcast to reject others even more frequently.
Are you an Outcast?
You can consider yourself an Outcast if you:
- struggle to ask for help;
- don’t trust others;
- keep your distance from other people;
- push people away and do not let them get too close;
- tend to think “I don’t need anyone, I’m on my own”.
What can you do?
- work on your self-esteem;
- don’t be afraid to ask for help and express your feelings;
- take the time to ask yourself if you are focusing on the worst-case scenario and what some other alternatives may be;
- give others a chance;
- look for evidence that you can trust others and know that if things don’t go well you are already experienced at ending a situation.
Fear Archetype #5: The Self-Doubter
This fear archetype is dominated by the fear of not being good enough. Those who self-doubt tend to feel insecure about themselves and their capabilities. Therefore, they can find it difficult to put themselves out there.
The Self-Doubter often judges others to mask his own fears and insecurities.
Such people may also struggle with feelings of intense jealousy toward someone who is doing the things they wish they could do. This jealousy may manifest itself in the form of sarcasm, gossip, or criticism.
These people are very insecure about themselves. In fact, they are afraid of themselves and their self-expression. Here there is a fear of the opinions of others, and the fear of not being good enough or not qualified enough.
Doubts prevent such people from starting something new. They doubt and criticize themselves and often envy those who succeed.
Are you the Self-Doubter?
You can consider yourself as the Self-Doubter if you:
- avoid trying new things or taking risks because you don’t believe in yourself or your abilities;
- often feel jealous;
- frequently struggle with feeling unworthy or unqualified;
- tend to be hypercritical of yourself and others.
What can you do?
- start doing what you’ve always wanted to do and dreamed of, even if it seems scary;
- step outside of your comfort zone every once in a while and take note of the outcome.
Fear Archetype #6: The Excuse Maker
This fear archetype struggles most with the fear of taking responsibility. It can also manifest itself as the fear of being held accountable, or the fear of being found at fault.
Instead of stepping up to lead every once in a while, the Excuse Maker finds himself taking a backseat to avoid accountability. They prefer to let others make decisions for them avoiding personal responsibility.
Such people are terrified of having the finger pointed in their direction. Therefore they always look for someone or something to blame for why they can’t do something.
Are you the Excuse Maker?
You can consider yourself as the Excuse Maker if you:
- tend to shift blame and avoid responsibility;
- get nervous at the idea of being in charge;
- feel uncomfortable with making a final decision, for fear of being blamed for an unfavorable outcome;
- are prone to blame any current struggles on other people or circumstances.
- often have an explanation for why you are not able to do something.
What can you do?
- start with setting small daily goals and stick with them;
- try the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely) goal model to help create measurable and realistic goals;
- break down each of your goals – then you will be able to bring structure and trackability to them.
Fear Archetype #7: The Pessimist
This fear archetype struggles with the fear of adversity and hardship. Such people often feel victimized due to past or current trauma or difficulties. They can tend to look at hardships as stop signs or a reason to give up.
This fear archetype struggles most with the fear of adversity, which often manifests itself as the fear of pain.
Pessimists are easily waylaid by any challenging circumstances that come their way. This is due to the fact that they are very afraid of adversity and hardship. In difficult situations, they feel like they lack control over them.
In any challenging situation, the Pessimist only sees obstacles and troubles but never sees the opportunities for growth and perseverance. Any problem they face in life is a legitimate reason to give up or to not try at all.
Are you the Pessimist?
You can consider yourself as the Pessimist if you:
- get stuck in bitterness toward other people or unfair circumstances;
- struggle to face your circumstances head-on instead of preferring to hide to avoid additional pain;
- fear of adversity and hardship;
- tend to feel like there is no real solution for your problem and therefore would rather not try to solve it at all;
- tend to look at hardships as stop signs or a reason to give up.
What can you do?
- learn to look at hardships as stepping stones or lessons, instead of roadblocks;
- see obstacles as an opportunity for growth and perseverance;
- stop hiding trying to avoid pain;
- get rid of victim mentality;
- when something tough gets thrown your way, take a moment to step back and evaluate the situation;
- when facing a challenge or problem, think about the lesson it might be teaching you, or how you can make the outcome more favorable.
The Bottom Line
Each of us can manifest all these archetypes, but some of them you may find particularly pronounced.
Did you recognize yourself in these fear archetypes? Well… Identifying the type of fear is the first step to overcoming it!