1. Can I replace the word "afraid" with the word "alert"?

"An artist client recently introduced me to this question," says Ellie Gordon, "and it quickly proved effective at dealing with fear." Fear, as most of us know, is the biggest obstacle to change. Sometimes our fears are authentic ("My husband is going to leave me because he's having an affair!") and sometimes they are inauthentic ("My house is going to blow down even though it's made out of brick, I have a new roof, and the wind isn't blowing!"). Either way, we usually try to dismiss our exclamation-pointed feelings as silly, ignore them altogether or blow them up to such a hellacious magnitude that we can't move, breath, sleep or...well...live.

But what would happen if we eliminated the word "fear" from the English language? Let's pretend another deep recession began, says Gordon, and you were lying in bed. Instead of chanting, "I'm afraid about running out of money" over and over, you'd say, "I'm alert to the possibility of running out of money." In other words, you'd recognize that this event might happen. You'd pay attention to it, the way a rabbit does when a fox comes into a meadow. The rabbit watches the fox. It feels a shiver of awareness. The rabbit is not running, though. It is sitting still, being alert, saving its energy so that it will have strength to run if it needs to run. And if it doesn't need to run, which it very well may not, it can go on eating grass and dreaming of that cute little blue coat that Beatrix Potter gave Peter.

Next: The question that can lead to a better you


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