Last week, we learned that free-flowing fear brings you focus, instincts, and intuition. In this excerpt from my book The Language of Emotions: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You, we’ll look more closely at our good friend, fear.
Fear hones your senses, alerts your innate survival skills, and increases your ability to respond effectively to novel or changing environments. When your fear flows freely, you won’t feel fearful; instead, you’ll feel focused, centered, capable, and agile. Sadly, our connection to free-flowing fear has been so disrupted that most of us have no understanding of fear whatsoever.
Most of us think we know fear because we’ve experienced the moods states of worry, anxiety, trepidation, terror, or panic. However, none of these emotions is fear! Though we have all felt true fear (there is no way to survive without it), we have so completely confused it with anxieties and terrors that we have lost our ability to identify fear as the distinct and vital capacity it is.
Here are some examples: Have you ever avoided an automobile accident by instinctively maneuvering your car out of harm’s way, or handled an emergency such as a house fire in a very calm and focused manner only feeling anxious or jangled after the danger had passed? Each of us would most likely say that we felt no fear while the dangerous situation was occurring (and that the fear only arose afterward), but we would be absolutely wrong.
Fear is the intelligence that takes over our bodies, our minds, and our emotions, and turns us into surprisingly masterful lifesavers. In fact, in those times when we’re sure we feel no fear when were completely focused, brilliantly instinctive, and amazingly resourceful those are actually the times when our fear is flowing freely.
Your task in the territory of fear is very simple. All you need to do is learn to identify fear when it is flowing. For instance, when you’re driving and checking both rearview mirrors, easing out of the way of slowed or speeding cars, signaling your intentions, and making eye contact with other drivers your flowing fear is at work. Your instincts are fully engaged, you’re constantly scanning your changing environment for novelties and dangers, and you’re acting in a way that increases your likelihood of arriving at your destination in one piece.