The Gifts of Fear

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 we’re 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.

Photo credit: Francesco Marino /

When fear flows through you, it makes you focused, lucid, and able to respond effectively to your environment. If you should come upon something startling or hazardous, your focus and readiness will allow you to act in ways that protect you and the people around you. Fear in its flowing state is your constant companion – not just in potentially endangering situations like driving, but in all situations.

When you’re working at the office, answering phones, juggling schedules, carrying on two or three conversations at once, and tracking down supplies or contractors – your flowing fear (not your anxiety, your worry, or your panic) is on the job. Your entire being is engaged and focused, you’re scanning through significant amounts of information, altering your behavior in response to changing demands, interacting with unique people, machines, and businesses in unique ways, and ensuring that your business (and therefore your financial survival) will continue to thrive and respond healthfully to changing market conditions.

When fear flows freely throughout your psyche, you become competent, capable, and intelligent in every area of your life. Most psychics and intuitives aren’t aware of this, but intuitive skills are intimately related to the instinctual energy of fear. Free-flowing fear gives each of us the capacity to identify, sort, translate, understand, and act upon the emotional and physical cues we pick up. There’s no real magic to this (intuition is a function of lighting-quick neurological processes that aren’t fully perceptible to our conscious awareness), but because most of us have so completely vilified and rejected fear, intuition has been treated as a mysterious faculty instead of a normal, freely available, fear-supported skill.

If you’re generally capable, naturally intuitive, and focused, you’re actually already connected to your free-flowing fear (even though you may not think of yourself as fearful). All you need to do now is to name your fear as itself, welcome it, and thank it for all its help. Fear is not your enemy. In fact, it may well be the best friend you have.

So what happened to fear, and why are most of us completely unaware of its true nature? One problem is that we don’t name fear as itself – as our brilliant and innate capacity to intuit, act, move, react, and change our behavior based on the input we receive. We call fear our intuition, our horse sense, our gut instincts, our little birdie, our survival skills, or even our guardian angel – but we don’t call it fear, so we can’t identify it properly. And again, fear is not worry or anxiety, which jangle and nag at you when your instincts are in some way impaired (or when you’re ignoring your instincts for some reason), nor is fear terror and panic, which take over when your instincts have been utterly overwhelmed.

Just as it is with anger and sadness, fear brings us gifts that we can’t get from any other place. Emotions are an irreplaceable aspect of our intelligence. You could even say that they’re a function of genius — emotional genius, that is!

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Elisa F.
Elisa F.2 years ago

Very interesting. Thank you Karla!

Michael H.
Mike H.2 years ago

Thank you!

Emma S.
Emma S.4 years ago

Thank you. An interesting way of looking at it.

Rie Rie T.
Ria T.5 years ago

One evening when I was working the PM shift, I felt terrified of a neat and friendly man walking his dog who wanted to chat as so many in that African-American neighborhood did. My hair stood on end. I told him I was late and ran for the door feeling ashamed of my racism (though I'd talked to all the other African-American men and women in the neighborhood). He killed another nurse that night. He was a serial killer. Listen to your instincts. It's save your life.

Jewels S.
Jewels S.5 years ago

It is an interesting concept. I am able to tap into what she calls "free flowing fear" but it doesn't connect for me. Jury is out. I don't like giving things a label anyway.

Walter G.
Walter g.5 years ago

Fear can produce in many forms, but the stress it applies to one may be harmful. i am a PTSD patient, I know.

Right now I share fear of a second term for Obama.

Kathy K.
Kathy K.5 years ago

Thanks. I'm going to look for this book.

Daniel B.
Daniel B.5 years ago

Fear often drives me to succeed. If I'm afraid I may in some way fail I'll often work harder to ensure I won't. It has a positive effect on me, certainly a gift at times. Thanks for posting this article, interesting read.

Liz Thompson
Elisabeth T.5 years ago

good article, thank you...

Barbara S.
Barbara S.5 years ago

so when God says you shall fear no is the same as what you are saying above ie.. you just do what has got to be done in the moment without negative affects????