The historic ancestors that were informal and blithely hopeful, underestimating the risks around them – loss of food, predators, aggression from others of their species – didn’t skip on their genes. But the nervous ones were very successful – and we’re their great-grandchildren, sitting atop the food chain. Never give anyone a cause to fear you.
Consequently, more than one hair-trigger system in your mind always tests for threats. At the least whiff of danger, which comes mainly within the shape of social risks like indifference, criticism, rejection, or disrespect – alarm bells start ringing. See a frown across a dinner table, listen to a cold tone from a supervisor, get interrupted repeatedly, get an indifferent shrug from a partner, watch your teen turn her back, and walk away. Your heart begins beating faster; strain hormones route through your veins, feelings all up, thoughts race, & the machinery of fleeing, fighting, freezing, or appeasing kicks into high gear.
The same issue happens in the other way: when you send out a sign that others see even subtly threatening, their inner iguana gets going. That makes them suffer. Plus, it prompts adverse reactions from them, together with defensiveness, withdrawal, counter-attacks, grudges, dislike, or enlisting their allies against you.
Thus the kindness and the sensible wisdom within the traditional saying, “Give no one motive to fear you.”
You can – and should – be firm, direct, and assertive. Without needing people to fear you, others should expect that if they smash their agreements with you or otherwise maltreat you, there may be consequences. In essence, you reserve the right to speak up, step back away from the relationship needed, take away the privileges of a misbehaving infant or the job of a dishonest employee, and so on. But this is just clarity. Rocks are hard; you don’t have to fear rocks to take their hardness into account: I know this as a long time rock climber!
Most of the time, the fear – the anxiety, apprehension, unease – we cause in others is mild, diffuse, behind the scenes, maybe not even consciously experienced. But studies show that humans can feel threatened through stimuli they’re not aware of. Think of the little bits of a caustic tone, irritation, edginess, superiority, pushiness, nagging, argumentativeness, eye rolls, sighs, fast hearth talk, snarkiness, demands, excessive-handedness, righteousness, sharp questions, or insults which can leak out of a person – and the way these can affect others. Consider how unnecessary they are – and the mounting costs of the fears we needlessly engender in others.
Think of the benefits to you & others for them feeling more secure, calmer, and highly at peace around you.
- Assert yourself for the things that mean a lot to you. If you are sticking up for yourself & getting your wishes met, you won’t possibly get reactive to others.
- Appreciate that the caveman/-lady brain in the head of the man or woman you’re speaking with is automatically primed to worry you, irrespective of how respectful or loving you’ve been. So do little stuff to save you unnecessary fears, like starting an interaction utilizing whatever warmth, joining, and great intentions are authentic for you. Be self-disclosing, straightforward, unguarded. Come with an open hand, weaponless.
- As you may, stay calm on your body. Get revved up, and that tells others that something wrong could come.
- Slow down. Rapid instructions, quick questions or questions, and quick moves can rattle or weigh down others. Sudden events in our historical past had often been the start of a doubtlessly deadly attack.
- Be careful with anger. Any whiff of violence makes others feel scared. For instance, a crowded & noisy restaurant will all at once get quiet if an angry voice is heard since anger inside a band of primates or early human beings became a significant risk sign.
- Consider your phrases and tone. For example, often you’ll need to say likely consequences – but watch out, due to that fact it’s easy for others to hear a threat, veiled or explicit, and then quietly try to struggle with you in their mind.
- Give the other man or woman breathing room, space to speak freely, an opportunity to preserve his or her dignity.
- Be honest to yourself so that others do not fear that you may disappoint them.
- Be at peace. Know that you have done what you could to help prevent or reduce fears in others. Observe and take in the advantages to you – such as others who feel more secure around you gives you no reason to fear them.
So, never give anyone a cause to fear you.