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  • Writer's pictureThe Wild Shrink

3 Indicators you are living a fear-based life

Fear-based desires eventually lead to fear-based living. When we have accumulated too many fear-based choices we start living outside our authenticity and we start living fear based lives. Here are three of the most easily recognisable patterns of fear-based living. See if you recognize anyone you know or yourself.


This common pattern emerges when the focus on “how” instead of the “what” becomes so pronounced that we begin living in the “how.” We live our daily lives in the means to the end. So, a budding artist decides that he first needs to create a financial safety net, before he can safely pursue his art. He focuses all his attention on how to make money and eventually gets really good at it. He buys the bigger car and home because the right image will help him make even more money. One choice leads to another and eventually the budding artist forgets that his current life was supposed to be a means to an end - a way to get to the life he really wanted. With sufficient noise and speed in our daily lives “how” we will get to what we want eventually becomes the sum total of our life’s journey.

Shadow Living

Shadow living is about living close enough to our desires to enjoy them but just far enough to ensure we don’t risk anything personally. This is the potential actor who hasn’t acknowledged her desire to act so chooses to be a public relations consultant for the stars. Her career offers her a bird’s eye view of what she secretly covets while keeping her safe from encountering her fears about her desires. Shadow living usually pays the bills and can even offer enjoyable life journeys. The daily witnessing of what is possible, if not yet for ourselves then at least for others, can eventually help us to dislodge our fears and finally acknowledge our secret desires. The danger however is that the longer we play in the shadows the better we get at it and like many before us, we may never leave.

Repetition Living

Repetition living is what happens when we deprive life of authentic direction. When we do not know our authentic desires, we cannot offer our lives meaningful direction. However, since life keeps moving forward, regardless, it has no choice but to move into a version of what it has already been. If it is being robbed of authentic direction in the present, it has no choice but to create from the past. Now, old dynamics move into new contexts: we discover that the new boyfriend who seemed so different in the beginning is just as emotionally unavailable as his predecessor, the new job proves to be just as unchallenging as the last one and we keep bumping up against the same money issues over and over again. We are moving forward but not growing. In the absence of authentic desire repetition living can go on indefinitely.

Fear-based desires come in as many forms as our fears. These indicators help us to begin understanding the differences. But unless we know how to identify and test an authentic desire the chances are that the things we want are probably fear-based. Remember, fear-based desires can feel natural, exciting and even hopeful but they eventually take us back into the loop - creating a whole new set of fears that we will then have to eventually weave our way out of.

Extract from "The Path of Authentic Desire —  7 Questions to become what you are through getting what you want."


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