Breaking the Fear Cycle: 5 Quotes About Overcoming Fright & WorryAug 11, 2022
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That is perhaps the most famous quote about overcoming fear, and it comes from the 1933 inaugural address of Franklin D. Roosevelt.
So what does that quote mean? Well, when we stop to examine what exactly makes a fearful situation crushing versus survivable, we find that oftentimes it comes down to either feeding the fear or making a conscious choice to focus instead on faith and solutions.
The tough situations in our life usually don’t kill or cripple us; instead, it is the fear about those situations that can shut us down and bring us to our knees.
The tough situations in life will come our way one way or another, but they are survivable with support, faith, and creative approaches.
However, when we are faced with a difficult situation and we chuck everything good into the flames of fear, thus stoking the fire, then the situation can burn out of control mentally and emotionally, robbing us of strength, peace, joy, and logic.
That “out of control,” hysteric state that bows down to fear is what we ought to be scared of—and it is something that we ought to fight tooth and nail to keep out of our lives. For the sake of our health, for the sake of our future, and for the sake of our very souls.
One illustration regarding fear “burning out of control” that I can think of is very personal. Back when I was just twenty-one years old, I began experiencing panic attacks in college. Now, if you’ve ever had one of these panic attacks, then you know just how terrifying they can feel. There is nothing fun at all about a dizzy head, buzzing nerves, stomach distress, sweating skin, a pounding heart, and a racing mind all put together and turned on overdrive.
There is nothing fun about a panic attack. But it can’t kill a person! And ultimately, what caused me the most trouble back then wasn’t the panic attacks themselves (although those needed to be remedied, for sure), but what caused me the most trouble was worrying about the panic attacks beforehand. Anticipating them. Thinking about the fear before it happened, and then fearing the fear itself!
It took me many years and a long healing and wellness journey to learn about proper ways to manage and reduce anxiety, but in a nutshell one tip is to stop fearing the anxiety itself. Stop fearing the fear. Stop fearing the physical discomfort. Stop anticipating the bad and thus creating it in your mind before it even happens.
Find a daily lifestyle that cultivates calm, faith and strength instead, and if and when discomfort and anxiety do arrive, allow those things to arrive as they will and then pass like a fleeting rain shower.
I think that Roosevelt’s idea of “not fearing fear,” is an important one if a person wants to break free from a life that is controlled by anxiety and worry, and here are a few more quotes about overcoming fear, which is really a key concept to being happy, healthy, successful, and faithful.
“Fear is never a good counselor, and victory over fear is the first spiritual duty of man.” Nicolas Berdyaev
We shouldn’t make decisions from a state of fear. We shouldn’t make decisions based upon the “flawed logic” (the confusion) that fear speaks as its language. Fear almost always points us into reckless directions that weaken us and then lead us to additional problems down the line.
Instead, when we are feeling especially fearful and neurotic with worry, we ought to step outside of the storm and calm ourselves down by any means necessary—with exercise, therapy, family support, devotion, prayer, a drive, a happy hour, a weekend getaway, or even an extended break. Then, when we are feeling somewhat more relaxed and logical, we can plan a way forward, usually with the help of someone who is level-headed and loving and can help us to continue to see “outside of the storm.”
Also, this quote points to the idea that victory over fear is so spiritually important because fear robs us of hope, which is at the center of a good spiritual life in the first place. We can find victory over fear by focusing on faith, and faith then increases and makes it easier to overcome fear the next time it rears its ugly head. This idea and practice builds on itself.
“The wise man in a storm prays to God, not for safety, but for deliverance from fear.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Okay, I have to admit that when I’m “in a storm” so to speak, I definitely pray for safety. I’m only human. However, this quote points to another way. Because it isn’t always the storm itself that makes life so uncomfortable, but it is the worrying, worrying, worrying about the storm and what it might do to us or mean for us. It is the sweating and trembling and screaming that leaves us too weak to even walk to safety. It is the way our muscles tighten and our minds scramble because of fear that lessens our chances of survival.
If we are delivered from the fear, however, we are able to weather the storm and keep our mind, body, and soul intact. During a storm, if we pray for deliverance from fear, we can then find calm and refuge, and the storm will eventually pass.
And even if it is a bad storm, we can survive and rebuild.
Most of the situations about which we feel anxious aren’t nearly as bad as we build them up to be in our heads.
Let’s be honest, each of us: How much time have we all wasted by handing precious and unrecoverable minutes and hours of our lives over to worry and fear? For me, the answer is too many. Maybe it is for you as well.
The storms pass through our lives one way or another, so why not find another way to deal with them, one that doesn’t wreck us physically, mentally, emotionally, or spiritually? We need to pray for deliverance from fear.
“Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered and no one was there.” Anonymous
I think that this quote says that answering a fearful situation with faith distills the situation down to a manageable challenge that can then be tackled with logic and determination. Fear thrives in the absence of faith but shrinks in its presence. Hysteria breeds further pain, confusion, and hopelessness, but faith offers strength, clarity, and even optimism.
When a situation has us feeling anxious, if we focus on fear and worry then the situation grows!
However, if a situation has us feeling anxious and we focus on faith first, then the fear surrounding the situation is removed and the situation diminishes in stature and flees. And then we are simply be left with a challenge to overcome. That’s not so bad.
Challenges don’t kill us. Fear does.
Also, this quote points to the fact that sometimes answering a fearful situation with faith actually makes the situation disappear right away, because sometimes our most fearful situations exist only in our heads. Use the soul to make a “head” situation disappear. This is another important lesson learned from this quote.
Answer the knock of fear with faith and keep your mind, your spirit, and your household protected.
“Fear closes the ears of the mind.” Sallust
If you’ve ever been really, truly worried about a situation to the point of distraction or physical/mental sickness, then you know exactly how fear closes the ears of the mind.
When fear gets to this point, it narrows our attention so profoundly that all we can see or hear is the fear and the hypothetical situations it spins for its own “entertainment.” We can’t imagine a good future or a good outcome in this state; we can’t be in the present moment and enjoy life as we ought to in this state; and we can’t think creatively in this state because the fear has erased necessary components of creativity such as vigor, humor and imagination.
We must move away from fear to open the mind back up.
The bottom line is this: If we want to find healing and wellness, if we want to find present joy and a good future, if we want to enjoy a clear head and a strong faith, then we MUST find ways to manage and overcome fear on a regular basis.
Maybe fear is your biggest obstacle right now. Maybe it is the thing standing between your current situation and how you want your life to look and feel. That’s okay. We’ve all been there.
Just be honest about it. Recognize it. Speak the problem out loud. Say, “My problem is fear and worry.” And then resolve to start chipping away at the fear and worry so that your better future becomes a reality, little by little.
Say, “I refuse to be controlled by fear, and I will instead focus on faith and solutions every day, even if its difficult at times.” Say this out loud, and then focus on ideas and activities that help you to do this each day.
This sort of “faith over fear” practice is necessary to move forward through life’s challenges, and it is actually something we all ought to do every week of our lives for the sake of growing in wellness and faith.
Take care until next time,
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