Spinning Presidents

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “The only thing we have to fear is – fear itself.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt knew a lot about fear and overcoming it. For a good part of his life, he was in a wheelchair (though he did try to hide that as much as possible, which I did not admire about him). He overcame a lot of things to become one of our greatest presidents, the most daunting of which was having a name like Delano.  But did he let that stop him?  No!

Today I would like to spin that famous quote around.  Today I would like to say, “We have nothing to fear about being afraid.”


Am I crazy?  Yes – but that’s not the point. The point is that I believe we spend way too much time worrying about worrying, being afraid of being afraid, being anxious about being anxious.  I believe that we spend more time on that than on the actual thing that caused us to feel that way.  And there is where the problem lies (or lays, as I could never get that one right).


For example, I used to worry about having to go to the dentist a full month before I would have to go.  Now, I only get anxious on the day that I go. I have saved myself almost a month of bad feelings in the process.  I maintain that this is a victory!

Would it be better if I didn’t get nervous on the day I go?  Yes, of course, but that is something that I am still working on – and even if I never achieve this, so what, big deal, I’ll survive.


I try my best to apply this rule to everything. Don’t anticipate fear/anxiety/panic. Don’t waste your time with that.  Accept the fact that it may happen; and just release it. Then, if it happens on that day, deal with it at that time. Do this and you have simplified your life ten times over.


Have I seen results from adopting this type of attitude?  Yes, indeed! The biggest of reward is that now I get to do so much more than I ever did before.  Before, when someone would ask me if I wanted to do something, I would anticipate fear and say “No.” Now, I simply say “Yes” and put it out of my mind. If the butterflies come, so be it.  I can deal with them – and so can you.


What did FDR really mean when he talked about fear?  I believe he was saying that we shouldn’t worry about tough times.  I believe that he was saying that we should worry when we found ourselves afraid of tough times.  In that sense, he was telling us that tough times might be ahead, but that we had the strength to deal with them. And that is exactly my message for today.

Do not worry about your fears.  That is a complete waste of time.  Accept them and move on. Deal with them when they show up at your doorstep.  Who knows, maybe someday you will have the strength to slam the door in their face forever.


About Joe

Freelance designer and writer whose goal is to help others by writing about my experiences with fear and anxiety (agoraphobia), health struggles (cancer) and my wonderfully-happy life as a husband and stay-at-home dad. I want to empower everyone to have a happy life.

5 responses »

  1. MCS Gal says:

    Why is it not acceptable to be afraid? We are always telling children to not be afraid. Instead why don’t we say that it is okay to be afraid? Acknowledging fear can give us extra power to move through that fear.

  2. Jim says:

    Nice one, Joe! It was inspiring.

  3. […] Don’t Be Afraid to Be Afraid ( […]

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