Feeling scared for no reason is something I’m very familiar with. I started to notice this feeling as a childhood, and it made me distinctly ill at ease. None of the adults in my life could help me make sense of how I felt, so I concluded that it must be something I was doing wrong. It was as though I didn’t feel safe with the people who were there to take care of me. I didn’t suffer abuse anything like that. In fact, I describe myself as having a very happy childhood. I knew I was loved, and my memories are peppered with good times, good things and lots of laughter. I just often felt better in my own company, out in nature or with animals, rather than in social gatherings.
I remember getting very upset suddenly and for no apparent reason. I would suddenly find myself feeling scared and insecure. I would out of nowhere feel nervous and oddly less than; like something about me was missing, or I didn’t have the answers to something. The adults in my life would look at me quizzically, unable to help. They’d try to reassure me, but the emotional disconnect only made me feel worse.
This odd ability to tune into fear at the drop of a hat followed me into adulthood. In some regards I was an over-achiever. Highly qualified, dedicated and competent, my post graduate career got off to a flying start. The professional progression my ego yearned for began to falter as I tuned in on this odd sense of internal malaise once more. I learnt about imposter syndrome, and while I could relate on one level, it wasn’t quite that either.
The mystery of my unsettled feelings for no good reason began to make more sense when I learnt about the ‘intuitive empath’. I had begun what turned out to be a decade long journey of profound self-exploration. This was brought about by simply having run out of techniques that would deliver the type of life I longed to live (or more accurately a set of living conditions that didn’t have me feeling like a perennially underachieving crazy person).
In short, an intuitive empath is someone who can intuitively sense the mood of a room, or the real way a person is feeling (despite how they may be presenting to the contrary). In the second that I read the description of the intuitive empath, I just knew it was me. An intuitive empath can walk into a room feeling on their A game; fully prepared, confident and happy, looking forward to being there, when all of a sudden, their mood can change. I used to say the mood swing was for no apparent reason.
Now the reason is abundantly clear to me; I am picking up on other people’s energy and feeling their emotions through my body. To start with its unfathomable; all these confident, happy, professional looking people in the space can’t possibly be feeling the way I now do inside? Oh yes, indeed they can!
My work with horses showed me how. When I qualified as an Equine Guided Leadership facilitator, I was trying to fathom why horses are such incredible healers. I was told about the ‘I am, I fear I am, I pretend I am’ model and it all made sense. When we are born, we are whole and complete in the ‘I am’. We fear nothing, have no hang ups and we trust completely – we know no other way.
As we grow up, we are told by those around us what is right and wrong and how we should behave. We come to fear that we might be something less than perfect; less than the ‘I am’ and so we contract. The resultant human condition is to reside in the ‘I pretend’ I am. We pretend to be what we fear we are not. Humans are the only beings who’s ‘I pretend I am’ will converse with another’s ‘I pretend I am’.
The light went on. I feel ‘scared’ when I am around people who don’t admit to how they are really feeling (because when they don’t, I used to think it was me). Worse still, I feel deeply unsettled around those whose emotions are so suppressed, they don’t even know how they feel anymore, so they just blast random emotion at you and around the spaces they inhabit. This is especially acute when you are in a place where people desire to impress; workplaces, conferences, parties, fancy bars and restaurants with everyone trying to prove themselves and jostle for position.
So, if you feel scared for no apparent reason, it may not even be you! Once you’ve worked out whose emotions you are picking up on, you are likely to feel better almost immediately. Once you know what emotion is not yours, you can focus on what is. You can then tell your fear you are listening and are ready to hear what it has to say. Our inner wisdom will give us unsettled feelings or pain in our body to get our attention. All you need to do is create the conditions to simply listen to yourself.
The simplicity of your body’s request when you care to hear what it says, will make you smile. Often is something like the need to rehydrating yourself, a reminder to say no to something you don’t really want to do or having a nap before you engage with the next half of your day!
So, don’t be afraid if you feel scared – thank you inner wisdom for the intuitive nudge, follow where it leads you and trust that you are not going crazy.
You’ve got this x