A friend suggested I read The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. It was probably the best self-help book suggestions I’ve been given.
The Gift of Fear tells us that what most of us consider as fear is actually anxiety, because real fear is a survival signal that causes us to react in a way to fight for our lives. The author also gives several examples of when and why we should fear something – that there are several warning signs to look for before we should react. De Becker also notes that our intuition is the number one thing that alerts us to fear – but most people are in denial. He includes examples in the workplace, in families, dating, and dealing with strangers.
A couple of days ago I was in a store when I was approached by a strange man. I had an odd feeling about him when he asked me if I was Jim Tate’s wife, as he looked me up and down and got a little too close for my comfort. He also had a difficult time asking me, had to say it twice for me to understand. I also got the impression that he’d made up the Jim Tate name. When I informed him that I was not JT’s wife, he asked me whom I was married to. Luckily, I had already finished reading The Gift of Fear and I knew that this man was fishing for information that was clearly none of his business. I looked him in the eye and answered, “I’m married to my husband,” and walked away. As I walked up to the checkout counter, something told me that this guy was still in the store, and I did not want him behind me. I got out of line and walked over to a clearance rack and noticed that the man walked out of the store without buying anything. Would he have done something to me had I not listened to my gut feelings? Would he have followed me home? Used the information I provided him to find out where I lived? I don’t know, but I wasn’t about to find out.
Not coincidentally (because I think there was a damn good reason this was timed in the universe), while I was reading the book’s chapter on dating, I noticed that one of my friends was dating someone that has a very high potential to be hazardous. I knew this prior to reading the book, but The Gift of Fear confirmed my own gut feelings about this person.
When we hear something on the news every single day about someone getting robbed, shot, carjacked, murdered – we have a tendency to think that we are not safe, that something is going to happen to us, even though there is a slim chance. De Becker suggests that we don’t need to live our lives in fear of everything, to enjoy life – because when the time comes to be afraid, our intuition will kick in and alert us. Other than that, we are wasting our time fearing things that will most likely never happen, and that our “tuning” will be finer if we turn off that anxiety.
I would highly suggest for anyone to read this, but I think this book is especially significant for women – because women tend to live in fear more often than men. I definitely rate this book 5 stars, because it provides the necessary tools we all need in order to protect ourselves.