Fear And Need: Motivators or Inhibitors?

Have you ever stopped to ask yourself…..What are you afraid of

What causes you to be fearful?

What gives you the most fear?

Is it the fear of losing something?

Or, is it the fear of something happening?

What about need?

Have you ever analyzed your needs versus your wants?

It seems basic, but it is my belief that most people cannot differentiate between something they want and something they need. They get confused.

“I need that job…”

{even though he currently has a perfectly good job}

“I need those new shoes and purse…”

{even though she has half a closet full of them}

“I need that guy to text me today…”

{even though she already has a boyfriend}

Maslow's_hierarchy_of_needsEach one of these needs has a basis in Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anyone who has taken college, or maybe even high school, psychology is familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. His theory states 5 levels of need: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualization. Each level must be satisfied before the individual can devote focus and motivation to achieving the next level. In other words, if one can’t attain food and water, one can’t focus on buying a home or doing the right thing, having a family or the respect of others.

But, each one of those is a “need” on steroids.

My intent is not to delve into the details of need. My intent is to make a link between the satisfaction of needs, or lack thereof, and fear.

Fear can be motivational. After all, it is a main tenet of survival. In a dark, empty parking lot, you want fear. You need fear. It heightens your senses, makes you more aware of your surroundings. It causes adrenaline to flow, which is critical to spurring you to move quickly if you have to defend yourself or to run for your life. Neither fight nor flight happens without adrenaline…and neither exists without fear.Good fear

Need can be motivational as well, particularly if we look at Maslow’s top levels, like esteem and self-actualization. The need for esteem can direct you to make wise choices in your career, your community, your family. The need for self-actualization can prompt you to think more deeply and logically about issues and to experience life more completely and contentedly. In other words, need can propel you forward to a fuller life.

However, both fear and need can be detrimental, particularly when they are not held in check and/or they become intertwined.

For example, Harry needs his job, but he is so fearful of losing it that he clenches onto it. He fights for it, but in the wrong way. He makes irrational decisions, or even bad choices, that, in the end, lead to the loss of that job.

Or, Mary needs Joe in her life. She knows he loves her and she loves him. But she is so fearful of doing something wrong or that he is going to leave her that she runs away: she backs away from the relationship. She is not present, not accessible to Joe. In the end, Joe turns to someone else and the relationship crumbles after all.

Fear and need are necessary in life. But they can run rampant if allowed to. They can restrain and strangle true potential and severely limit the beautiful possibilities that God has laid out for each one of us. And, whether alone or together, fear and need can become a way of life, a dark path that does not offer potential for the achievement of a full life.

So, I ask again: “What are you afraid of?”

© 2010-2014 Kimberly Yoss. All rights reserved. No part of this online publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior approval from Kimberly Yoss.

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