Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Recognizing the Real Fear

--by Erich Fromm (Jan 26, 2009)

In the sphere of human relations, faith is an indispensable quality of any significant friendship or love. “Having faith” in another person means to be certain of the reliability and unchangeability of his fundamental attitudes, of the core of his personality, of his love. By this I do not mean that a person may not change his opinions, but that his basic motivations remain the same; that, for instance, his respect for life and human dignity is part of himself, not subject to change. […]

To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith; whoever shuts himself off in a system of defense, where distance and possession are his means of security, makes himself a prisoner. To be loved, and to love, need courage, the courage to judge certain values as of ultimate concern – and to take the jump and to stake everything on these values. […]

Is there anything to be practiced about faith and courage? Indeed, faith can be practiced at every moment. It takes faith to bring up a child; it takes faith to fall asleep; it takes faith to begin any work. […]

The practice of faith and courage begins with the small details of daily life. The first step is to notice where and when one loses faith, to look through the rationalizations which are used to cover up this loss of faith, to recognize where one acts in a cowardly way, and again how one rationalizes it. To recognize how every betrayal of faith weakens one, and how increased weakness leads to new betrayal, and so on, in a vicious circle. Then one will also recognize that while one is consciously afraid of not being loved, the real, though usually unconscious fear is that of loving. To love means to commit oneself without guarantee, to give oneself completely. Love is an act of faith, and whoever is of little faith is also of little love.  

- By Erich Fromm, From "The Art of Loving"

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10 Previous Reflections:

On Mar 5, 2011 sethi wrote:

Faith is a bird that sings

when the dawn is still dark .

By: Rabindranth Tagore .

Yes faith is to trust oneself and create within oneself  the emotion which ultimately manifests on the outside . Thank you for the beautiful article .

On Feb 1, 2009 faith is what we ned to develop in ourselves wrote:
love you!

On Jan 30, 2009 sam wrote:
l am always inspired by your write up,the God of heaven bless u.

On Jan 28, 2009 Tsehaye wrote:
Faith not only strengthns the relation with God but our relation with onself and with others and to be confidential in our daily life.

On Jan 28, 2009 Paul wrote:
I love this, i eed to read all over again.

On Jan 27, 2009 Jeff A wrote:
One of the things I learned this past weekend was that faith is one of the most crucial elements of life and it is the foundation of love. Fear is the opposite of faith, and faith now guides my choices every day, never fear. On Monday evening, after developing that realization over the course of two days, I went to sit down and write about it and that was when I saw this week's inner net weekly... I love it when that stuff happens.

On Jan 27, 2009 Tristan wrote:
Not at all. Go out and Love, and take what comes. Faith is a crutch, that one may learn to let go of.

If it depends on faith, it's not Love.

On Jan 27, 2009 patsy wrote:
i have found that increasing faith in the rightness of god's plan for me brings freedom from fear. this is the greatest freedom i have known thus far in my life.

for those times when my faith is not enough to banish fear from my thoughts, i must find courage to act with trust, even though i do not trust.

i do not think this battle will ever be finished in this lifetime (for what else is the purpose of this lifetime?); but for every moment i am able to live in trust, and especially trust without fear, i have lived a complete moment. with every moment i decide not to be in control, but to cede control, with (or even without) complete trust, to the one who knows so much more than i - in such moments do i lighten my feet on the earth.

oh, how i strive to achieve more of these moments of freedom and lightness. . . .

On Jan 27, 2009 vhan wrote:
To have faith requires courage, the ability to take a risk, the readiness even to accept pain and disappointment. Whoever insists on safety and security as primary conditions of life cannot have faith;

On Jan 27, 2009 raj wrote:
i would love reading the stuff. particularly about the need for one to have faith in oneself as pointed out by Erich Fromm in his The Art of Living