Growth Tools - Practical tools for meaningful growth

Facing Fear

“Your fears are not walls, but hurdles. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the conquering of it.” -- Dan Millman 

Deep down inside, what are you most afraid of?

Don Richard Riso and Russ Hudson have identified 9 basic fears that shape our personalities:

  1. Fear of being bad, corrupt, evil or defective
  2. Fear of being unworthy of being loved
  3. Fear or 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 loss of connection, of fragmentation.*

While we may feel every one of these fears at one time or another, do you identify with one more strongly than the others? Just being aware of our fear helps us begin to move through it.

Once we’ve identified a fear, we can begin to move through it. It helped me to learn that only my personality feels fear. Soul, which bridges the spiritual into form, knows no fear because it experiences the unity of all. Fears arise when our personality misunderstands who we really are.

When we’re afraid, we can intentionally use our imagination to connect with the soul’s perspective. When the love and compassion of the soul can sit with our frightened personality, the experience of bringing the higher to the lower transforms the fears.

Both the fear and the love must come together to integrate in wholeness. Affirming love while denying the fear doesn’t work – it only gives the unacknowledged fear more power in our subconscious. To resolve the fear, we must bring it consciously into the presence of a higher power.

“Every man has a coward and hero in his soul.”
-- Thomas Carlyle

*This list is taken from Riso and Hudson’s book ‘The Wisdom of the Enneagram.’ 

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John & Patrice Robson
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