Is It Better To Be Loved Or Feared? Answered: The question as to being loved or feared is necessitated as a result of the complexities of human nature, especially as it relates to the position of leadership, power, authority and relevance. While some views opine that it is better to be feared, some are of the other view.
Fearedness is the quality of being feared. Fear is a strong, uncontrollable and unpleasant emotion or feeling caused by actual or perceived danger or threat. Fear also extends to phobia which is a sense of fear induced by something or someone. But for the purpose of this discourse, we are not totally concerned with the lines of phobia. Fear on its second limb extends to having a terrified veneration or reverence towards someone or something, for instance, reverence towards God or sovereigns. For the purpose of this discourse, we are concerned with the second and first implication of the word ‘fear’.
Having terrified veneration towards another denotes a coercive effect. To be terrified means to be greatly frightened or intimidated by another. It therefore suggests a kind of compellation and an absence of the free will to feel otherwise. Therefore, fear in this sense is a constrained state of the mind resulting from an imposed physical or abstract circumstance. Fear is the subconscious exertion of the state of unrest in the mind of another towards oneself. It is subconscious because it is warranted by the attributes of the person so feared, which are known to him. Being feared keeps people away from you. By being feared, one can acquire all that he so desired at the expense of another’s state of mind. Being feared and being respected are two distinct concepts. While the act of respecting someone is willful and most times earned, having fear for someone is unwillingly exerted.
In a leadership setting, a feared leader is not a leader. He may be in a supervisory role, but what he really is, is a ‘target’. His subjects will always explore means to extinguish that which they fear. The presence of fear is the absence of trust and confidence. On that note, when a leader is feared, his subjects find it uncontrollable not to trust him. They will instead choose to work for him than to work with him, and it has been long established that the setting of ‘working with’ yields the best result. This is because, when people work with people, the setting is always a relaxed one. Moreso, unnoticed love would infiltrate the setting, thereby building a more productive team and a better result.
A feared person makes a demand of obedience and respect which he has not earned. He consciously expects and requires his subjects to fear and regard him. While fear is a demand made by the leader, love is an award rendered to the leader. Unlike fear, love is earned. In love, respect is well incorporated. When someone is loved, it is a natural, irresistible and whole-hearted act of willingness from the person who so loves. When someone is loved, it is seen as an authority figure most respected and approved. There are no elements of coercion or compellation existing. More is done for him willingly than he even requires. People are often happy, more open and willing to obey, help and contribute value to the person so loved.
A loved leader encourages his followers to succeed rather than coercing them against any indiscretion, error or loss. A loved person builds his people up and earns their respect each day. He does neither ask for their love nor demand any one to love him. Those who are feared are always in fear too. They are not oblivion of the circumstances which makes them to be feared. In fact, people who are feared are in a position of target because they know that people hate the fact that they fear them, and as already been stated, they will do anything to extinguish those fears.
Being feared is costly. You can never be assured that your interest is genuinely cared for by the people who fear you. It is always a state of constant paranoid vigilance, since there exists no trust from either of the sides. Therefore, feared people may also live in fear.
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It may seem better to be loved, even though a loved person may feel somewhat less respected, but he can rely on reasonable belief that people who love him will want the best for him. To be loved is not just better, but healthier. Being loved gives you a pool of peace, trust and confidence, and of course, progress and better results. On the other hand, if you are feared, you may never be truly loved. In fact, being feared is quite an easy attainment; however, it is a very lonely place to b, since people will tend to avoid you.
The concept of being loved and being feared is somewhat difficult to be complimentary unto each other. Thus, one cannot exist alongside the other in its glory. An illustration: one may be domineering over his partner by instilling fears in her. Such fear can never be mistaken or mature into love. You are not keeping that partner because she loves you; she is instead staying because of the constrained state of her mind which is fear. This can at most mature into Stockholm syndrome which is the state of developing false love for one who has held another’s mind in hostage. The only thing keeping them is the fear of what you might do to them if they leave. Hence, the love can never compliment with the fear to become genuine.
One thing about being feared is that you usually do something in order to earn it; something which most times is unpleasant or harsh, and those things you’d do to get feared often create more enemies.
“For a prince, it is better to be feared than loved”, this was said by Machiavelli. Machiavelli was an Italian of 15–16 the century. He observed the ruler of his times and proposed certain qualities of a prince which includes that a prince must not use force at first place.
He must try to achieve things with love. If that was not possible then he must use force. Such force must have the ability to crush the enemy or subject them to death. When using love, prince himself has to show that love. When using force, prince should not be involved directly; he has to make use of his men. So according to Machiavelli, it is better for a prince to be feared than to be loved.
Machiavelli never took his stand without a caveat. The caveat he added was the caveat of love. The totality of his position simply suggests that inasmuch as being feared should not be totally extinguished especially in extreme cases, being loved should be at the foremost. Moreseo, that even when being feared becomes an option, one should not get directly involved.
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From the totality of the propositions made afore, it seems that the advantages of the state of being loved preponderates over that of being feared. While being feared is a het up state which has selfish tendencies, being loved is simply a pleasant condition. Therefore, it seems better to be loved that to be feared.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.