The Gift of Fear

Last week I was away on a business trip (again), and I have another one in 2 weeks. Good thing I know how to travel in style.

Anyhoo, my work friend C and I were walking back to my hotel after a fancy schmancy company dinner. We stopped near the front entrance that happened to be next to a large open plaza.

I was telling C about an amazing book I had just read, when her eyes focused on something over my shoulder.

I turned to see a 20-something man yelling at a young woman sitting on bench.

“What is it?” I asked.

“I think he just hit her,” C said.

I whipped back around to see the man stalking away. The woman looked after him for a moment and then touched her cheek. She looked distraught.

“Really?” I couldn’t believe it. What type of person would slap someone in public?

We debated about whether we should ask the woman if she was OK but decided not to say anything.

Then out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw another couple snuggling up against a nearby column.

“We need to get out of here!” C yelped.

She hurriedly walked away and explained that the new couple wasn’t cuddling. The woman had shoved the man into the column, and it was now obvious that they were arguing.

We were surrounded by crazy people!

I quickly said goodbye to C, and she headed for her bus stop. My head was spinning as I entered the hotel and rode the elevator up to my floor.

What a strange night, and stranger still, the book I was telling C about was The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.

This book is about recognizing the fear we feel when there are dangerous people and situations in our lives. By seeing fear as a gift instead of ignoring our instincts, we can protect ourselves from those who mean us harm.

I admit that I’m a little late to the party. The Gift of Fear was published about 15 years ago. You may remember Gavin de Becker on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

There have been times in my life when I’ve felt fear but didn’t know why. Something told me to not get into a certain subway car or to cross the street when I spotted a stranger walking towards me.

Of course, sometimes I shrug off my fear as being paranoid. But I’ll never discount my fears again after reading this book. Your mind can pick up clues that you might not be fully aware of, and that subconscious knowledge could save your life.

Have you read The Gift of Fear?

Has your fear ever kept you safe?

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  1. Working Mystic on August 24, 2012 at 7:30 pm

    Hi Page, have you seen Glad's post on her encounter with a bobcat? She talks about the same thing. Check it out:

    • Sage Grayson on August 25, 2012 at 2:47 am

      I just read it–that's intense! I think I would have fainted. Thanks for sharing the link.

  2. xvavaveganx on May 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm

    Wow, I’m sorry that you had to witness/experience that. It’s so scary that things like that happen at all, and it’s disturbing that people would publicly act out. Very sad all around.

    That book sounds really interesting! I’ve had a “gut feeling” on several occasions and I always follow my intuition. I always feel like it is best to err on the side of caution. I definitely need to check out this book.

    • Sage on May 8, 2012 at 8:08 am

      Go get the book! It’s a great read, and I finished it in 2 days. It really reinforced the idea that we should trust our intuitions.

  3. Shybiker on May 7, 2012 at 9:32 pm

    Fear, like many intuitions, can alert us to critical situations and it’s valuable to have that information. Fear has taught me many things many times.

    • Sage on May 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

      I’m getting better about not discounting my fear. Thankfully, I’m not often in scary situations.

  4. Tinfoil Tiaras on May 7, 2012 at 7:25 pm

    I’m sorry you had to see that- what an awful gesture, in public or in private. I am hypervigilant almost to the point of being paranoid. I don’t know if it’s ever prevented me from unsafe situations but I’m definitely wary around strange men and keep my wits about me (I blame it on Criminal Minds and Dexter!)

    • Sage on May 7, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      I hate seeing violence. It really disturbs me. I focus of being positive during the day, and it’s shocking whenever I’m reminded that the world’s not all sunshine and rainbows. 🙁

      Detective shows on TV make me think that whatever awful crime they investigate in the episode is bound to happen to me! I try not to get paranoid, but I’d rather be overly cautious than sorry.

  5. Molly on May 7, 2012 at 5:03 pm

    I haven’t read it, but it sounds like a great book. I’ve had times when I felt something wasn’t right, which turned out to be true. For example, this guy started at work and I had a horrible feeling about it, like he was dangerous. Sure enough, a few weeks later he was arrested for trying to abduct a teenage girl. Fear can certainly be used to our advantage, especially coupled with intuition!

    • Sage on May 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

      Oh, that’s horrible. But that’s pretty amazing that you picked up on the strange vibes before he showed any signs of being dangerous. Being highly intuitive is a great trait to have.

  6. Cara on May 7, 2012 at 10:23 am

    I haven’t read this book but I’m adding it to my list of things to read this summer. I definitely have had that gut instinct that has made me switch subway cars at night, that to date has kept me safe. It’s so weird/amazing that the body and mind can pick up things our senses cannot!

    • Sage on May 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      It’s so weird, everyone I’ve talk to has heard that little voice inside them at some point in their lives. It’s kinda creepy when we feel fear when there’s no apparent danger. I just go with it!

      It’s a great book with lots of information about warning signs to look out for in various situations. I read the whole book in 2 days.

  7. Megan Gann on May 7, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I may need to pick this book up. I’m definitely a high-anxious person and tend to avoid a lot of situations. I do like to think it’s self-preservation, but I wonder how much of it’s possible danger or just overreaction.

    • Sage on May 7, 2012 at 9:00 pm

      I highly recommend it. The book has information about how to assess if there’s real danger in various situations. It should be required reading for all young women. I think being overly cautious can be an advantage.