While out on the trails not long ago (on a miraculously warm, sunny February day) with a good friend on her horse, we were chatting happily – as we do. I started telling her a story about a conversation I had overheard a few days earlier, when suddenly, both of our horses slammed to a halt, lifted their heads high in the air, pricked their ears forward and froze. I could actually feel Jove’s heart beating against my legs, as his body responded physically to the perceived threat – whatever it happened to be.

When we finally convinced Jove and Mikey that there was nothing to fear and we could continue forward, the most fascinating thing happened. Jove took a few steps forward and then pinned his ears and kicked out behind him in Mikey’s general direction. Such bizarre behavior from him… he never kicks out under saddle like that, and is certainly never bothered by – in fact, he seems to prefer – horses following close behind him.

All of a sudden, I realized that Jove was demonstrating exactly what I had just been telling my friend about. I had been watching a couple of riders and overheard one of them say how she “hated” a particular horse, who evidently was prone to bucking. I was taken aback by the anger in her voice… and then I realized what was underlying her comments, and it wasn’t hatred. It was fear. Fear of falling off, of being injured, of someone else being injured, being out of control, etc. That list could go on forever, couldn’t it?

When we are afraid, that fear often translates into anger.

In EFEL sessions (the personal development work I do with horses), I see these kinds of reflections all the time. I am very aware of horse’s ability to mirror our energetic state at any given time, even to act out – like they were in a play – a scene so we can see it more clearly. So, I was pretty amused at my own surprise at Jove’s behavior… of course, he was simply demonstrating that exact tendency on our part – to shift from fear to anger when we’re spooked by something.

For some reason, anger feels like a more comfortable emotion to feel, so we almost immediately shift our fears/anxieties/nervousness into anger/hatred/frustration instead. Perhaps because there is more energy flowing with anger? Or perhaps because it’s higher up on the emotional guidance scale, so it feels better in general? Or maybe we’ve been taught that anger is more acceptable than fear?

In any case, the next time you feel angry, ask yourself if maybe what you’re feeling is actually fear… then – and only then – will you be able to get to the source of the negative mental and emotional state you’re in, so you can actually doing something about it. If you’re trying to figure out why you’re so angry, though, you’re not going to get very far.

The fear may or may not be warranted , but if it is and you’re focused on your anger, you won’t be particularly effective in keeping yourself safe. And if the fear isn’t warranted, then getting angry will just disguise the fear and perpetuate it, because it won’t be cleared out.

So, tell me… have you experienced that flip of emotions? What happened? What did you do about it? What might you do differently now? Share in the comments section below…