My secondary school was a parochial school run by Bernadine nuns in forbidding black robes. On my first visit to the school, I had an interview with the headmistress. She was a very old lady called Dame Mother Mary Mildred. (“Dame” because she had been honored for past achievements, I never knew what.) She had one eye that drooped and was somewhat frightening to the ten-year-old that I was. However, she was also very wise, and kind without being sentimental.
She took one look at me and said, in such a way that I have never forgotten it, “Beware of fear.”
It took me many years to understand the power and importance of that observation.
Fear can be one of the most destructive of human emotions. It is, of course, also very important, in that fear sometimes stops you from doing stupid things. But it can also stop you from doing creative or exciting or experimental things. It can cloud your judgment of others, and lead to all kinds of evil. The control and understanding of our personal fears is one of the most important undertakings of our lives.
~Helen Mirren, Academy Award and Emmy-Winning Actress, in The Best Advice I Ever Got: Lessons from Extraordinary Lives, by Katie Couric