A couple of weeks ago, I was watching The Bachelor. I watch the whole cursed franchise because it’s a way to have a virtual weekly date with my friend.
She loves the show, and I love her. But, I think it’s pretty stupid. I just use it as a hangout time.
At least these contestants get to go to some really cool places across the world. And, there’s the catty, nighttime soap drummed-up by the producers drama that’s kind of fun to watch.
I admit, too: I thought I liked this season’s bachelor. I mean, he’s a looker. But, he’s also a cheeseball. So, I regained my senses during this episode. He’s probably a bit sleazy which I took as attentive and kind at first.
I really need to get out more often.
Anyway, I saw two contestants practically lose their shit on their dates with the bachelor, and both got eliminated on the spot instead of at the rose ceremony.
This happens on occasion, but how they did themselves in reminded me of how my intuition went crazy years ago right before I was fired.
A Runaway Motormouth
One contestant was on a date in Napa Valley. Lovely scenery, plus swilling wine should help with romantic vibes. But one of the many blonde Laurens on this show just kept freaking out.
She was so nervous and really had reason to be–she kept telling the viewers that in her little interviews. She felt like she couldn’t control herself. I agreed, no reason to be nervous.
She kept nervously talking and talking about everything and nothing. She just could not shut up. The bachelor let her go for the silliest reason–apparently, she loves her family too much to be here. He may have been trying to let her down easy because I don’t even think he let her go because of her incessant babbling.
“The Human Anxiety Attack”
The other woman who got let go, Vulture calls her “the human anxiety attack,” and for a good reason. This show gets a little silly, because it takes mundane instances in our lives and blows them up on TV.
So let me preface this to say that yes, it’s important to get some physical chemistry with your love interest, but usually these are internal or private conversations. It is so weird to have them outside of yourself and to tell millions of strangers these sorts of machinations.
This lady, who I was rooting for and find to be probably too sensitive for a TV game show where the prize is an engagement, was freaking out about not having yet kissed the bachelor.
So she tried to get some one-on-one time with him before the rose ceremony to make it happen, and he says, nah.
I hate to be reductive here, but from my experience any time a straight guy turns down a kiss or sex, something is gravely wrong.
She tries again, and he sends her home.
Smoke Breaks Saved Me a Day of Dignity
These freakouts reminded me about when I was working as a legal assistant at a law firm and one Friday, I couldn’t stop freaking out about getting fired. I just knew.
I didn’t think I wasn’t doing my job well, but the two law firm partners reminded me of my parents. One was aloof and the other was certifiable and had been banned from certain court rooms.
The irrational one thought I was lazy. In retrospect, it was probably racism and sexism involved, since my two other colleagues were white males doing the same amount and kind of work.
Everyone thought I was freaking out for nothing.
The next Monday morning, I was laid off. Apparently, it would have been Friday, but they couldn’t find me to fire me. I was a smoker at the time, so I think I was nervously taking a lot of smoke breaks outside.
So what do these three incidents have in common? A woman’s intuition.
Fear and Intuition
As I was watching The Bachelor, I told my friend that those two women knew this wasn’t going to work out with the bachelor, but at the same time, their minds didn’t really know. Instead started to bargain or cling onto this guy through their meltdowns.
With blonde Lauren, the incessant babbling to me was a sign that they were not connecting. She was trying to fill in the silences and make up for what the bachelor was not giving. As Vulture pointed out, the guy was so checked out, he started eating during dinner.
I have been there, many times, and it is a horrible feeling–to not feel connected to someone when you are so trying to make it happen.
With the anxious lady, there’s of course the time pressure–there’s the rose ceremony where you get chosen, or not chosen–but there’s also the knowing she clearly had. When would you otherwise try to force a kiss to happen with a man? Never.
And as sleazy and cheesy as this guy is, she knew it should have happened already. She was trying to force things to happen. But, and maybe graciously, she hastened her elimination and went home before the rose ceremony.
I’m not exactly sure why these two incidents stood out to me, but I have been fed up with how people in the spiritual community talk about fear. Fear is bad–and that’s it. It’s very dualistic thinking, and the the older I get, I see more of life as a gradient than two black and white choices for everything.
The Gift of Fear
As research for this blog post, I just started reading The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker. His book is more about preventing violence. So, for these three examples, it’s outside of the scope of this post.
I’m still going to read the book because even though it was written in 1997, with mass shootings happening so often (just today, there was a shooting at a Kentucky school where one person was kill and multiple people were wounded), it’s important to know how to use fear as a gift, as a tool to protect you.
You have more brain cells than there are grains of sand on your favorite beach, and you have cleverness, dexterity, and creativity–all of which powerfully combine when you are at risk–if you listen to your intuition.
Still, what if those women had listened to themselves, to their bodies? If they knew why they were freaking out, maybe they could have saved a little face and left the show without having the bachelor eliminate them. Both women were disappointed and sad, but at least they would have had more control of what happened to them.
For my situation, which happened 17 years ago, I really didn’t want to be unemployed, so I don’t think it could have been avoided. I don’t think it would have made sense to go up to my boss and say, fire me because I have uneasy vibes.
There’s so much focus in the personal development world on positive thinking, which I a lot of it has to do with positive psychology. Positive psychology isn’t bad. But I do think it can mislead people to not listen to themselves when fear arises.
Mind you, I do not include chronic anxiety in this. That could be due to trauma or brain chemistry or both. If you listened to that all day, you’d be exhausted, especially since most of it is misinformation.
What I’m talking about are those uneasy vibes that won’t go away.
Fear as a Messenger
So what do you do when fear arises? Do you dismiss it as negative thinking? Or do you pay attention to it?
Beyond that the fact that fear can save your life from violence, it could also prevent some embarrassment. It can end a relationship that has long since grown stale. It can give you some insight on how to handle the future when you feel an ending coming (like losing a job).
Fear is not bad. Rage is not bad. Anger is not bad. Sadness is not bad. Even pain is not bad.
Emotions are really neutral messengers that we must heed–whether we’re on some stupid game show, or at our places of work, or at home, or out and about.
Emotions aren’t optional.
Of course, any emotion in excess can be bad. But, to me, fear gets such a bad rep, and needlessly so. It’s almost like Westerners have a meta-fear–a fear about fear.
Maybe for those two eliminated game contestants, it’s just that their nerves got the best of them. But I still think it was really because they both had a foretelling, a foreboding, of an end coming. And neither of them wanted that end to occur.
So, if you have really acute, exaggerated reactions to people, places, or things–pay attention to them. Don’t dismiss them.
Your intuition knows.
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