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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Gift of Fear-partial Book Review; or I'm a Safety Girl II

Hi everyone! Today's post is not directly related to prepping but after Monday's post on safety, I felt like I should be covering this book. So.....I'm going to cover it (and tie it in to prepping) and if you read to the end you'll see the significance of my doing that. Also, please see the exception at the end of this post.

The book, The Gift of Fear, starts out with the story of a young woman who was raped, and would have been killed had she not acted to save herself. This young woman then goes to see the author, Gavin de Becker, so that he can help her see the danger signs that she missed, to know what she should have done differently to avoid the violence she went through. He helps her to see how the things her attacker did and said were predictable signs of what his intentions were. She admits that she had 'a feeling' about him, but she ignored it. de Becker insists that people with violent intentions always say or do things that are 'readable' if you know how to read them.

I am a nice person. I try to be polite, I try to avoid offending people or making them feel bad. Far too often, I've ignored a nagging 'feeling' because I didn't want someone to feel bad, to feel that I thought they were a 'bad person'. de Becker explains that that feeling we get is actually a gift! Our brains (or the Holy Spirit, the still small voice) know in the unconcious when something is wrong before our conscience brain knows. It senses danger and warns us. Unfortunately for many females, we have been trained to ignore this feeling because we don't want to offend someone, when what we're really doing is ignoring the gift we've been given. The gift of self-preservation. In today's world where we're not supposed to be afraid, we've somehow disconnected one of the best gifts our brains give us. Fear.

One example de Becker gives is to explain how a woman can be standing waiting for an elevator; when the door opens and she sees a man inside alone she wants to run and not get on the elevator. But, she stops herself. 'He'll think I'm rude', she thinks. So, she gets on the elevator, locking herself into a sound-proof box with a strange man she doesn't know and didn't feel comfortable with. Have you done something like this? Have you ignored the still small voice when it's trying to preserve your life? I have, more times than I would care to admit. (In fact, shortly before I read this book I was in a very teeny elevator with 8 other people. The elevator stopped at one floor and a woman with 3 children was waiting to get on. My brain shouted 'NO! It's too many people! Get off!' but I ignored it because I didn't want to offend the woman. Guess what? 1.5 floors later the elevator stopped and remained there for over an hour with claustrophobic me-who was given a gift I ignored-trapped inside! No, it wasn't a life-threatening situation, but it was a moment when my brain was trying to help me and I ignored it.)

This little tidbit from the book fascinated me! de Becker explains how men are 'predators' and women are 'prey'. He suggests that you ask your male friends how often they've been afraid for their life. More often than not, they'll say never or they'll be able to pinpoint 1 particular time. (I found this to be true when talking to my hubby and his friends.) Now ask your woman friends. Most likely, they'll answer last week, last month, yesterday! He uses this as an example of why husbands should heed their wives 'intuition'. Women are in tune to fearful situations in ways that men are not.

Another example de Becker uses is nature. Have you noticed what a deer does when it senses danger? First it stops and looks around. Then, almost always, it turns tail and runs. It doesn't just sit around waiting for a lion to come tear it to pieces. It's not afraid to offend the lion by running away! It is in the business of preserving its life, so when it senses danger it runs like heck in the other direction! The Gift of Fear is full of tips to help us survive in the presence of danger, predict others' behavior, and refuse to be a victim. I highly recommend it. This book is not just for women, but since we are prey :), it focus alot on us.

When I saw the author, de Becker, on a talk show discussing this book I instantly knew I needed to read it! I was the type of person who ignored the gift of fear. I knew it wasn't right and I wanted to learn how to change it. I don't know if I've done a good job of explaining the book to you because there's just so much good information in it. It truly helped me, and I strive daily to be aware of the gift of fear that (I believe) is from the Holy Spirit.

*Exception: I only read through chapter 8 of this book. If you read past chapter 8 and see something offensive, please don't blame me; I didn't read that far. I got exactly what I needed to get out of it, so I didn't finish the book. But, I HIGHLY recommend the portion I read.

To tie the book in to prepping, I feel like we have to make sure that we heed fears that we have in regards to our preps. What you and I are doing may be completely different things, but we have completely different needs, live in different locations, face different circumstances. We have to listen to the 'fears' we face and act accordingly to prepare ourselves and protect our families.

Prep On!
Gen-IL Homesteader
P.S. Teenage girls can tend to act fearless and get themselves into dangerous situations. If you have that kind of girl in your life, you might want to recommend this book to her. I was one such girl who, on senior trip, took a ride in a car with a strange man in TN!! Not too smart, I'm ashamed to admit.
P.S.S. Yes, I did get in trouble when I returned to the hotel a few hours later. Thank God the strange man didn't lay even a finger on me! I must have a great number of very large angels!


Worn Out said...

Great post! There were only a couple of times I've had that little voice in my head and ignored it thankfully with no ill consequences, usually I heed it.

Christine said...

This is a great book. My husband is in law enforcement and it comes HIGHLY recommended. Thank you for sharing this book with everyone.

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Good for you, Worn Out! You're better than me!
I have a close friend who's a fiesty New York born, Puerto Rican and she just could not understand why this book meant so much to me because she is so fiesty and strong willed that she always listens to her voice!!

Gen-IL Homesteader said...

Thanks, Christine! I really, really enjoyed it and got ALOT out of it! It's amazing how just a few chapters in a book can make such a big difference in your life! Thanks for stopping in!

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