100+ brutally honest quotes on fear that will give you courage

“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.'”

—Eleanor Roosevelt

We all fight battles every second, every day—battles no one else can see, battles we deliberately hide. These battles are fought inside the deepest corners of our minds.

It is our battle against fear.

Big, small, terrifying, manageable fears—we are all afraid of something. Some fears we speak out loud. Some fears we are even too afraid to name.

But one thing is true for all of us:

We are all fighting against it. Because we cannot just let fear stop us from living our best lives.

In this article, I’ve compiled the most relatable and downright honest quotes about fear and how to overcome it.

Here are 100+ quotes that will make you more courageous:

“Fear has two meanings: ‘Forget Everything And Run’ or ‘Face Everything And Rise.’ The choice is yours.”

— Zig Ziglar

What really is our deepest fears?

First, let’s talk about the things we fear the most? While our lives are all unique and our battles incomparable, there are fears that we all share.

Here are 3 quotes that I believe relates to us all:

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

― Marianne Williamson

“One is never afraid of the unknown; one is afraid of the known coming to an end.” ― Krishnamurti

“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life.”

― John Lennon

What it really takes to overcome fear

fear quotes

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” —Nelson Mandela

“Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear.” —Dale Carnegie

“I’ve learned that fear limits you and your vision. It serves as blinders to what may be just a few steps down the road for you. The journey is valuable, but believing in your talents, your abilities, and your self-worth can empower you to walk down an even brighter path. Transforming fear into freedom – how great is that? —Soledad O’Brien

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” —Dale Carnegie

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.” —Mark Twain

“I think fearless is having fears but jumping anyway.” —Taylor Swift

“Curiosity will conquer fear even more than bravery will.” — James Stephens

“Who sees all beings in his own self, and his own self in all beings, loses all fear.” — Isa Upanishad, Hindu Scripture

“Laughter is poison to fear.” — George R.R. Martin

“To overcome fear, here’s all you have to do: realize the fear is there, and do the action you fear anyway.” — Peter McWilliams

“In skating over thin ice our safety is in our speed.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Don’t fear, just live right.” — Neal A. Maxwell

“Find out what you’re afraid of and go live there.” — Chuck Palahniuk

“Try a thing you haven’t done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.” — Virgil Thomson

Fear is natural,  you have to listen and understand it

fear quotes

“Anything I’ve ever done that ultimately was worthwhile… initially scared me to death.”
— Betty Bender

“There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear.” —George S. Patton

“Fear makes us feel our humanity.” — Benjamin Disraeli

“You have to get outside of your comfort zone if you’re going to make significant changes in your life, and since few things scare people like the unknown, feeling fear is an excellent sign that you’re on the right track.” —Jen Sincero

“There are times when fear is good. It must keep its watchful place at the heart’s controls.” — Aeschylus

“Being aware of your fear is smart. Overcoming it is the mark of a successful person.” —Seth Godin

“Fear has its use, but cowardice has none.” —Mahatma Gandhi

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” —H. P. Lovecraft

“Some people ask why people would go into a dark room to be scared. I say they are already scared, and they need to have that fear manipulated and massaged. I think of horror movies as the disturbed dreams of a society.” —Wes Craven

“When you say ‘fear of the unknown’, that is the definition of fear; fear is the unknown, fear is what you do not know, and it’s genetically within us so that we feel safe. We feel scared of the woods because we’re not familiar with it, and that keeps you safe.” —M. Night Shyamalan

“Fear is our deepest and strongest emotion, and the one which best lends itself to the creation of nature-defying illusions.” H. P. Lovecraft

“Fear doesn’t shut you down; it wakes you up.” ― Veronica Roth, Divergent

“I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back….” ― Erica Jong

“We meet fear. We greet the unexpected visitor and listen to what he has to tell us. When fear arrives, something is about to happen.” ― Leigh Bardugo

“Is it useful to feel fear, because it prepares you for nasty events, or is it useless, because nasty events will occur whether you are frightened or not?”
― Lemony Snicket

On facing your fears head-on, instead of avoiding it

fear quotes

“Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. The fearful are caught as often as the bold.” —Helen Keller

“I have learned over the years that when one’s mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear.” —Rosa Parks

“Fear keeps us focused on the past or worried about the future. If we can acknowledge our fear, we can realize that right now we are okay. Right now, today, we are still alive, and our bodies are working marvelously. Our eyes can still see the beautiful sky. Our ears can still hear the voices of our loved ones.” —Thich Nhat Hanh

“Grab the broom of anger and drive off the beast of fear.” —Zora Neale Hurston

“The key to growth is acknowledging your fear of the unknown and jumping in anyway.” —Jen Sincero

“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” —Jim Morrison

“The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” — Joseph Campbell

“Obstacles are like wild animals. They are cowards but they will bluff you if they can. If they see you are afraid of them… they are liable to spring upon you; but if you look them squarely in the eye, they will slink out of sight.” — Orison Swett Marden

On what causes fear

fear quotes

“Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear.” —William Congreve

“Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance.” —Francis of Assisi

“The greatest mistake we make is living in constant fear that we will make one.” —John C. Maxwell

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out.” — Karl Augustus Menninger

“Ignorance is the parent of fear.” — Herman Melville

“Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real.” — Unknown

“We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality.” — Seneca

“If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment.” — Marcus Aurelius

“Fear is the lengthened shadow of ignorance.” — Arnold Glasow

“Fears are stories we tell ourselves.” — Unknown

Fear is a part of life

fear quotes

“Of course I’ll hurt you. Of course you’ll hurt me. Of course we will hurt each other. But this is the very condition of existence. To become spring, means accepting the risk of winter. To become presence, means accepting the risk of absence.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“I have accepted fear as part of life – specifically the fear of change… I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back….” ― Erica Jong

“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always … so you must fight hard to express it. You must fight hard to shine the light of words upon it. Because if you don’t, if your fear becomes a wordless darkness that you avoid, perhaps even manage to forget, you open yourself to further attacks of fear because you never truly fought the opponent who defeated you.” ― Yann Martel

“Fear is a phoenix. You can watch it burn a thousand times and still it will return.” ― Leigh Bardugo

“Everyone is afraid of something. We fear things because we value them. We fear losing people because we love them. We fear dying because we value being alive. Don’t wish you didn’t fear anything. All that would mean is that you didn’t feel anything.” ― Cassandra Clare

“Fear isn’t so difficult to understand. After all, weren’t we all frightened as children? Nothing has changed since Little Red Riding Hood faced the big bad wolf. What frightens us today is exactly the same sort of thing that frightened us yesterday. It’s just a different wolf. This fright complex is rooted in every individual.” ― Alfred Hitchcock

“How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise?” ― Don DeLillo

Mindset is key

fear quotes

“Fears are nothing more than a state of mind.” —Napoleon Hill

“Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” —Babe Ruth

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows.” — Japanese Proverb

“If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?” —Confucius

“You just have to get rid of fear and confront the world. Look at yourself in the mirror and say to yourself, ‘I love you and nothing will destroy you and you’re not going to fall.’” —Ricky Martin

“The key to success is to focus our conscious mind on things we desire not things we fear.” —Brian Tracy

“As soon as the fear approaches near, attack and destroy it.” —Chanakya

“There are very few monsters who warrant the fear we have of them.” — Andre Gide

“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic.” — Unknown

“Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small.” — Ruth Gendler

“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.”
— Frank Herbert

“Fear’s useless. Either something bad happens or it doesn’t: If it doesn’t, you’ve wasted time being afraid, and if it does, you’ve wasted time that you could have spent sharpening your weapons.” ― Sarah Rees Brennan

“Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity.” ― Paulo Coelho

“You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
― Michelle Obama

What happens when you let fear rule your life

I’ve always believed that a life ruled by fear is nothing but half a life. It’s barely living for the sake of existing.

Yes, we will always fear something. And yes, fear is needed to trigger our survival instinct.

A little bit of fear is necessary to keep us fighting, but a lot of it can paralyze us completely.

But fear should not ever stop you from chasing after your dreams, from going after what you want, and for living a good and meaningful life.

As a reminder not to let fear rule your life, I’m sharing to you some quotes on what it’s like to be a slave of it:

fear quotes

“Because fear kills everything,” Mo had once told her. “Your mind, your heart, your imagination.”
― Cornelia Funke

“Fear is the most debilitating emotion in the world, and it can keep you from ever truly knowing yourself and others – its adverse effects can no longer be overlooked or underestimated. Fear breeds hatred, and hatred has the power to destroy everything in its path.” —Kevyn Aucoin

“Fear is the dark room where the Devil develops his negatives.” —Gary Busey

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are our own fears.” — Rudyard Kipling

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” — Anais Nin

“In time we hate that which we often fear.” — William Shakespeare

“Of all forms of caution, caution in love is perhaps the most fatal to true happiness.” — Bertrand Russell

“Don’t fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.” — Louis E. Boone

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” — Plato

“Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.” — Shirley Maclaine

“Fear of self is the greatest of all terrors, the deepest of all dread, the commonest of all mistakes. From it grows failure. Because of it, life is a mockery. Out of it comes despair.” — David Seasbury

“To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. To not dare is to lose oneself.” — Soren Kierkegaard

“No power so effectually robs the mind of all its powers of acting and reasoning as fear.” — Edmund Burke

“There are several good protections against temptation, but the surest is cowardice.” — Mark Twain

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ― Paulo Coelho

“Fear cuts deeper than swords.” ― George R.R. Martin

“Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power.” ― John Steinbeck

“When we think we have been hurt by someone in the past, we build up defenses to protect ourselves from being hurt in the future. So the fearful past causes a fearful future and the past and future become one. We cannot love when we feel fear…. When we release the fearful past and forgive everyone, we will experience total love and oneness with all.” ― Gerald G. Jampolsky

“It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” — Marcus Aurelius

“If you’re not willing to risk, you cannot grow. If you cannot grow, you cannot be your best. If you cannot be your best, you cannot be happy. If you cannot be happy, what else is there?” — Les Brown

Picture of Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon

Genefe Navilon is a writer, poet, and blogger. She graduated with a degree in Mass Communications at the University of San Jose Recoletos. Her poetry blog, Letters To The Sea, currently has 18,000 followers. Her work has been published in different websites and poetry book anthologies. She divides her time between traveling, writing, and working on her debut poetry book.

Enhance your experience of Ideapod and join Tribe, our community of free thinkers and seekers.

Related articles

Most read articles

Get our articles

Ideapod news, articles, and resources, sent straight to your inbox every month.