Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself: 5 Quotes About Overcoming Fright & Worry
“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,
Michael Priebe is a writer and wellness coach who has studied psychology, literature, and print journalism. He holds a journalism degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he graduated with honors, and over the years he has helped people from all over the world understand antidepressant withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal and find healing in their lives. He puts out a variety of spiritually inspiring content at The Lovely Grind, and he blogs about his life at www.michaelpriebewriter.com. He invites you to find out more about his coaching here, and he hopes you'll reach out to him on Facebook and Instagram.
“Michael helped me in a way that no doctor or therapist has been able to! His personal experience combined with his optimistic, constructive input and guidance is priceless. I highly recommend his coaching sessions.”
“I contacted Michael for coaching because he has the ultimate credential of having been through it all himself! I liked his warm, empathetic manner. He is easy to talk to, and I felt as if he were a family member in his warm caring toward me. Michael has a very reassuring way of communicating, and I would highly recommend him.”
Jon - British Columbia, Canada
“I came across Michael’s videos by chance while looking up information on prescription drug withdrawal. I found his YouTube videos to be very informative, honest, and consoling. I was watching one after the other and even converted the sound on the videos to MP3 so that I could listen to his advice while going for walks. That was very soothing for me, and therefore I decided to try his coaching services. Great decision.
"Michael is a great and patient listener, and during our time together I felt that he sincerely cared about my healing progress and had genuine empathy for all those going through withdrawal. He is a positive-minded individual who disseminates hope, and I appreciated the useful, personalized follow-up notes he sent after our session. Most certainly I would recommend his coaching.”
Yasmin - Cairo, Egypt
“No one else is doing what Michael is doing. It truly is a ministry! Michael is willing to make himself vulnerable to help others during their journey in the valley. He is very easy to talk to (I felt like I had known him forever), and I would most definitely recommend his coaching to others.”
Andi, North Carolina
“Michael’s coaching is truly a game-changing experience. I appreciate the level of understanding he brings … tons of knowledge on how to survive the days and get closer to recovery. When you finally get to look someone in the face and know they understand exactly what you’re going through, it can bring a different level of comfort; that is what Michael’s coaching provided me, and without a doubt I would recommend it to everyone going through this.”
“I decided to use Michael’s coaching services because he seemed very genuine and trustworthy. After speaking with him a couple of times, I realized that I am strong enough to overcome certain obstacles, but also realized that I need not rush the process [of becoming medication free]. It was comforting talking to Michael about my withdrawal issues so that I could realize that what I’m going through is common, and it was also useful that Michael took the time to give me feedback in specific areas—like making a schedule and forming realistic expectations for myself. Michael gave me more useful feedback than a lot of mental health counselors I’ve had. Michael has helped me, and I hope he continues to help others. I would definitely recommend his coaching services.”
“I learned a lot from Michael. At first I was so confused by withdrawal (wondering what I was going through and if I would be this way permanently), but Michael helped me to realize that we do heal and that things do get better. I had a lot of worries, but he helped to ease my mind and he gave me positive feedback regarding how to approach each day in this process. Michael has a caring heart, and I would 100 percent recommend his coaching to others going through this.”
Erikka, South Dakota
“It can be frustrating having to deal with [withdrawal] symptoms for months on end and getting next to no support from doctors or anyone in the medical community (people who for the most part are clueless). Simply getting a chance to speak with Michael—someone who has gone through what I have and is able to offer support—was comforting. I also really enjoyed his follow-up notes. They were insightful and helped me to consider things I hadn’t thought of. I very much enjoyed working with Michael, and I would recommend his coaching to anyone who is going through this process and looking for support.”
“Michael is relatable and non-judgemental. I liked his positivity and follow-up notes. He provided good support overall. I believe that if a person really wants to withdrawal from medication, then support like this, from someone who has personal experience, is invaluable, and for that reason I would recommend Michael’s coaching to others going through this process.”
Leanne – Ontario, Canada
"Because of Michael’s own experiences, he knows what serves and what damages. He helped me to control my intake of negative information, he made me more optimistic, and he gave me a sense of the “whole [healing] picture.” Michael is a good listener and his comments are very precise. I would definitely recommend his coaching to others going through withdrawal."
Miguel, Atlanta, GA
"I really enjoyed my coaching sessions with Michael and looked forward to each call. He is very easy to talk to and offers very good advice. Our conversations gave me hope and coping skills, and his follow-up notes and progress plan were very helpful; I reference them often to stay on track. I found it comforting talking to someone who has been through this and really understands the struggle. I now look at withdrawal as something that can be overcome, something that I can heal from. I felt very comfortable talking to Michael, and I would recommend his coaching services to others going through the withdrawal and healing process."
“I decided to try Michael’s coaching because, in his videos, he seemed so honest, relatable, upbeat, hopeful, and knowledgeable. I believe I got more out of Michael’s videos and coaching than I got from years of professional counseling. It is very comforting talking to him because it is like talking to a very knowledgeable, long-time, close friend. I have more hope for the future after talking to Michael, and that helps me to survive the times when I am feeling blue. I would recommend his coaching to those going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
“I really enjoyed the care that Michael put into every contact with me. I appreciate how he shared his own experiences, found out about my overall context, and made direct suggestions; it was so important to believe that I was not losing control of my mind and body and that I could carry on with living while going through the process. It was also helpful to set goals and a plan and check back in on these things. Michael’s coaching is very professional and authentic, and I would highly recommend him to anyone who is going through the withdrawal and healing process.”
Emma, United Kingdom
“I always refer back to what Michael coached me on in the past regarding dealing with such times during the recovery and healing process. I enjoy working with Michael because he takes his time answering each of my questions in detail. Michael has true answers and guidance. It is comforting being coached by someone who understands my symptoms, and also Michael is a very compassionate person. I would definitely recommend his services to a person in need of help during the withdrawal process.”
THE LOVELY GRIND: SPIRITUAL INSPIRATION FOR WORKDAYS offers 90 devotional messages that will help you find rest, renewal, and perspective for your workweek and beyond.
WHAT IS YOUR STRUGGLE RIGHT NOW? Difficult coworkers? A lack of professional fulfillment? Financial concerns? Balancing work with the rest of your life?
By discussing a variety of professional stressors and life challenges and then offering spiritual and thought-provoking perspective on each, THE LOVELY GRIND gives readers a truly unique devotional experience.
Get a copy for yourself and don't forget to order one for a friend or family member who has been feeling fatigued or stressed out lately. Come join THE LOVELY GRIND & start living lovely!
CONTACT ME ABOUT COACHING
If you or someone you know is struggling to survive the pain and confusion of prescription drug withdrawal or chronic stress, I would like to offer my coaching services. Stress can suck the joy out of life, and the withdrawal process can be challenging (I know from experience). However, with the proper tools and mindset, these things can be survived and even used for greater growth. If you or someone you care about is trying to quit antidepressant or benzodiazepine medications (or simply trying to reduce stress levels), please click here to email me about coaching options and availability.