First published on KSL.COM
In this edition of LIFEadvice I want to explain human behavior in a very simple way so I'm dividing all humans into two general categories: Fear of Failure Dominant people and Fear of Loss Dominant people.
You can decide which you are and what the others around you might be. Understanding their type and yours may help you better understand your relationship dynamics.
Fear of Failure Dominant people
You might be considered people pleasers. You might care too much what others think of you and you may be prone to being too selfless and even sacrificing your own needs to make others happy. You might not speak your truth or address problems often because you don't like conflict. You may also dislike being judged or criticized and might see yourself as less than others at times.
You feel safe in a relationship where you feel validated and aren't experiencing harsh criticism or judgment. If you want to have a successful relationship with a Fear of Failure dominant person, compliment them often and be careful about how you deliver negative feedback. Some of you are more unbalanced (in a fear state) and may have more of these qualities, while others are more balanced (less afraid) and only have minimal people-pleasing tendencies. However, you may still be more this type person than the other.
Fear of Loss Dominant people
You may be strong and opinionated people. You're great at boundaries and taking care of yourself and are more mindful about protecting yourself, your time, your preferences and your views from other people. You may not as much care what others think of you. In an unbalanced (triggered state) you may be selfish, critical or defensive. You're more likely to speak your truth and get what you want and dislike being taken from or mistreated. You may be more prone to notice faults in people or institutions and point them out. You might become arrogant or controlling in an unbalanced state and may accidentally talk down to others. Some of you may be more unbalanced (in a fear state) and possess these qualities to the extreme, while others could be more balanced (less afraid) and only have minimal tendencies. But again, you may still be more this type person than the other.
Can you tell which one you might lean toward? Can you tell which one your significant other, friends or family members might be?
The benefit of understanding these two types of human behaviors lies in knowing what your unbalanced, worst behavior could look like. Then, you can watch for that bad behavior, catch it in action and choose better behavior. Can you own some of the negative behavior tendencies in your type? Can you see they might show up when you feel unsafe, criticized, insulted or mistreated?
Understanding these two types may also help you not take other people’s behavior personally and helps you allow them to be who they are. Here are the three dynamics that might show up in relationships and how to navigate them:
One person is Fear of Failure dominant and the other is Fear of Loss dominant:
The Fear of Failure person might be slightly intimidated or even scared of the Fear of Loss person and their strengths. They might feel threatened by how opinionated and judgmental the Fear of Loss person is. Expect the Fear of Loss person to be critical and opinionated at times and try not to get offended when they disagree with you or say you're doing something wrong. Choose to see they are trying to help you and don’t mean to offend — even when they may seem like a "know-it-all" at times. When they disagree with you or insist on control over a situation, you get to decide how much it means to you to hold your ground. This gives the Fear of Failure person the chance to practice being stronger and having good boundaries. The Fear of Loss person can sometimes teach the Fear of Failure person a lot about strength, confidence and boundaries.
Generally, in these relationships, the Fear of Loss person might make more of the decisions. The Fear of Loss person might make the Fear of Failure person feel safe with validation. The Fear of Failure person might need more verbal validation than a Fear of Loss person would, so it may not occur to them to give that much. But the Fear of Failure person needs to know the good the other person sees in them and may need to hear it often. This will make the Fear of Failure person feel safer and may create more confidence in them.
The Fear of Failure person can make the Fear of Loss person feel safe in the relationship by giving them time and freedom to do the things they love to do. Also, when possible, the Fear of Failure person should let the Fear of Loss person have control over things they don’t care about. Choose your battles on the things that really matter.
Both people are Fear of Loss dominant:
These relationships can sometimes be confrontational because both parties may have strong opinions and preferences, and neither is quick to back down. There can be a lot of conflict and you both must learn to divide your world up and let each person be in control of some things. You will have to choose your battles carefully and learn to compromise. You also need to be aware of the mistreatment triggers each of you may have and avoid them. If both parties are balanced (and have fewer triggers), these relationships can be productive, cooperative and positive. But if one or both parties are unbalanced and easily triggered, then conflict can rule the day, every day.
These people need to work on trusting the journey and seeing every situation as one meant to teach them something. This will help them step back from conflict and figure out how to behave at their best.
Both people are Fear of Failure dominant:
These relationships are usually easy. Both parties tend toward pleasing the other and the only real problem may come up when both are unbalanced and trying to get validation from the other. Because both may have empty buckets and might be focused on getting validation and not giving it, there could be times when no one gets what they need. Both need to work on their own self-esteem and choose to see all humans as having the same exact value if they want this relationship to thrive.
I hope this helps you understand the dynamics in some of your relationships and how you may improve them. If you understand the other person’s fear triggers and how to make them feel safe, then any relationship can thrive.
You can do this.
Kimberly Giles is a human behavior expert and speaker. You can find your dominant fear on the Clarity Assessment or the 12 Shapes Survey.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.