My last article explored how to manage your fear after a fright, like a car swerving. This time, I'd like to teach you a new way to walk through another common dangerous situation. I offer you some very useful tools to survive and emerge victorious. Learn to shift from being a victim into a warrior!
Here is the scenario: the dreaded dark parking lot. Frequently a woman -- or a man -- walks into a dark parking lot with a cringing, fearful energy, filling his or her mind with what-ifs of a scary nature, terrified by the possibility of being mugged, raped or assaulted. This is exactly the situation where you need to go from prey to predator because you are putting out a vibe that you would make a good victim. That's what people who commit such horrible acts look for: easy prey.
I have some recommendations to help you triumph in this often daily -- for some of us, every workday -- scary experience. Understand that there are fearful events everywhere. How you walk through them is yours to change.
If you know that you have to go into a dark parking lot, maybe it is part of your daily work or shopping route; one possibility is to buy some pepper spray and put it in your hand while still somewhere safe and well-lit. Be ready to use it! Another readily available tool/weapon is your keys. Place keys between your knuckles and have the hand closed in a fist, this improves your ability to fight for yourself. If you live your life in high heels and have to walk into a scary place, put on different shoes. Don't sabotage yourself; take the extra moment to change your shoes. Don't be a victim for fashion. High heels are too difficult to run or fight in.
Now deepen your breath and get your feet active -- switch from prey to predator. Walk embodying a tiger, not a nervous rabbit. Use your butt muscles, tucking the tailbone, to get power moving in your legs. Get your head up. Shoulders back. Emit an energy of "Go hunt elsewhere. I'm not your lunch." Be ready!
One of the times I got attacked as an adult, it was in broad daylight as I was walking down Montana Ave. in Santa Monica, where my yoga center was. I don't walk like a victim. But that day I was thinking deep thoughts, looking dreamy, and wearing my tie-dye and Ugg boots.
Three guys attacked me. I was hit in the back of my heart, knocking all my breath out. An arm came around my throat. I couldn't breath. I started to struggle. I made a quick choice, and calmed down in an instant. I know how to do this. I felt where the attacker's body was behind me. He was muttering into my hair. So I swung my hips over to the left, made my right hand into a fist, and punched him in the balls. He gagged and let go. Then I spun around and went after the other one, while the third ran away.
It was all over in a couple of minutes. I was incredibly surprised and upset to be attacked in the middle of the day in a high-rent district. I had felt safe there for years and years.
Afterwards, I continued walking to my yoga center, and did some yoga. What I really needed was a punching bag to pound on. I was ramped up and had the shakes, needing a way to disperse the powerful adrenaline rush.
I had learned as a young horse trainer that being scared is not a helpful emotion, because when I was fearful, I became something a huge, angry horse could stomp into the ground. Instead, I trained myself to go from fear to anger, because anger is strong and has a different chemical smell.
Years later, I was scared after the attack by the three guys, but what I was feeling was my anger.
I was strong and fought off my attackers, emerging from a very frightening situation a victor, not a victim. Learn how to fight for yourself. GET THIS: You're worth it. I want women in particular to care enough to recognize that they are worth fighting for. To protect children is an inherent drive in any healthy adult. It is hard-wired in us. Most mothers would fight for their children; don't those children deserve to have skilled mothers fighting for them? Develop these skills as part of being your child's champion, as well as your own. You are as precious as a child; be a champion for yourself!
An important aspect of my own healing was learning to fight for myself. My immune system had collapsed and lost the ability to fight because my body had been overpowered so many times by abuse as a child. I was sick and tired all the time. Learning to punch and kick and fight off an attacker taught my immune system how to fight. My health and self-respect improved together.
Care enough about yourself to learn some basic self-defense skills, and buy some pepper spray! You don't need a license for it. (Note: Pepper spray is legal in all 50 states. However, some states and cities have specific regulations pertaining to the purchase, possession and use of defense sprays. Please check with your local law enforcement agency for any regulations your state may have.)
You can take a self-defense class, although just taking a karate class didn't work for me. Instead, I took classes from an organization that simulated an attack, and taught me to fight it off. If you had been attacked in the past, they could simulate your specific situation so you could work through and release the deeper fear archived in your cell tissue. If you are interested in that, look for a "Model Mugging" or "Impact" company.
Do this: Change the way you walk and breathe, don't walk like a victim. No rounded shoulders, no hanging head! Be alert and look out, but not like a rabbit. Be alert and look out like a cougar or a tiger. Predators look at rabbit as lunch. Few folks want to attack a cougar or a tiger.
Here is your new life paradigm: Be proud of yourself. Carry your fighting spirit with you everywhere; don't leave home without it!
For more by Ana Forrest, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.