I recently finished reading The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. It is a powerful book about the survival signals that protect us from violence. I think everyone could benefit from reading this book, women especially so. I recognized many components within its pages that I teach in my Vancouver/Richmond BC women’s self-defense class.
The Gift of Fear breaks down the process by which fear is generated and shows how it serves to warn us of danger. De Becker posits that fear is ignited by our subconscious mind, which is registering signals of danger that our conscious mind hasn’t seen or has dismissed through “logic.” I always teach women that when they experience real fear, the kind that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, they should listen to their instincts and take action to get away from the person or remove themselves from the situation that is causing the reaction. But this experience of acute fear is very different from the kind that many women experience on a day-to-day basis, a general fear that violence could happen to them randomly. This is not “authentic” fear, according to de Becker, but is actually worry, a form of fear that is manufactured, and it actually debilitates a person’s ability to sense real danger. (more…)