Look Fear in the Face

look fear in the face

“The encouraging thing is that every time you meet a situation, though you may think at the time it is an impossibility and you go through the tortures of the damned, once you have met it and lived through it you find that forever after you are freer than you were before. If you can live through that you can live through anything. You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.

You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

The danger lies in refusing to face the fear, in not daring to come to grips with it. If you fail anywhere along the line it will take away your confidence. You must make yourself succeed every time. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

– Eleanor Roosevelt
from You Learn by Living: Eleven Keys for a More Fulfilling Life

Eleanor Roosevelt is underappreciated as a person of wisdom. Her book, You Learn by Living is well worth reading. It embraces and illustrates one of my favorite ideas–that essential to gaining wisdom is being fully present and aware in your every day life. This quote from her book is reminiscent of the adage “feel the fear and do it anyway.” As Roosevelt points out, there is more to it than just ignoring the fear, it is coming to grips with the fear and turning it into something positive. This is great wisdom.

P.S. – Many have forgotten that Eleanor Roosevelt was instrumental in developing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

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