Fear. . . as Lack

Last time, I gave you my version of the more-or-less standard psychological definition of fear – the biological and psychological response to a real or perceived threat to self. And that is a solid definition of the word, clinically.

But today, I want to share a new insight. Let’s turn the object (fear) a little bit and view it from a different angle and perspective. I want to talk about fear as a belief structure. Basically, fear is the thinking, the belief that you will not have enough… of something. Stated another way, fear is a belief in lack.


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Where fear resides, someone is believing they are not going to have enough of some essential commodity when the time and situation calls for it! And where that lack exists inside of us – fear rushes in to fill the void. Like nature, the mind abhors a vacuum.

The lack can be any number of things and will change situation by situation. You may find yourself stricken with fear that there won’t be enough money. You may fear that public speech you have to make on Thursday, because there won’t be enough memory. You may have to visit an abrasive in-law this weekend and you fear you won’t have enough inner strength to stand up to them.

It’s possible that you are faced with a situation where you fear you will not have enough self-esteem, or self-confidence, or charisma, or intelligence, or skills, or natural gifts, or support, or happiness, or control, or success, or… In other words, you will be in the process of believing that there is something you lack, or will lack when the time comes. Fear fills the void.


[su_quote]Fear is a belief . . . . . . . in lack[/su_quote]

The lack-born fears I mentioned above are actual examples I have faced with clients in just the last month alone. Allow me to list them again – not enough: money, memory, inner strength, self-esteem, self-confidence, charisma, intelligence, skills, natural gifts, support, happiness, control, success, not enough….


What all of the above lacks – and their unnamed relatives – boil down to ultimately, is an absence of faith… usually in oneself. Fear born of lack can accurately be seen as a misuse of belief. Rather than believing in themselves, their talents and gifts, their abilities and capabilities, fear-based individuals characteristically believe in the lack or absence of these things in within them.


If you struggle with fear in a way that seems excessive and imbalanced to you, I would encourage you to look at the subject from a different angle. To get a new insight, consider that when you are fearing, you are believing you possess a lack… of something essential to the challenge. Use the above real-life list as a starting point if that will help. Then determine to use your belief in a new way – not to reinforce a sense of lack. Instead, choose to believe you possess the strength or gifts or whatever is called for – to meet that challenge head on.

Next time, we will look at fears that grow from a perceived lack relating to things we are much better off not possessing in the first place. See you then!


Dr Michael Ruth, Growth Resources, Personal Growth