“I dig old books.”
Quotations for Sufferers
Welcome to my page of quotations about social anxiety, other anxieties, introverts, highly sensitive people, etc. I've struggled with social anxiety since I was a little girl, and I can finally admit that — as well, I've managed to develop enough courage through the years to finally be open about being an HSP so I've decided I need to put some quotes out there to help others troubled by such things. This page also covers worrywarts, just plain shyness, and the like. Note: I've tagged some of the quotes #infj and #hsp, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the author is classified as such, only that I think the quote applies particularly well to those personality types, in my own experience anyway. If you fall into these categories of people, I sincerely hope you get some comfort from these quotes; I know how truly excruciating it can be to be knocked around in life by those who don't understand.
The fear of being laughed at makes cowards of us all. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men's minds more seriously than what they see. ~Julius Caesar
When you suffer an attack of nerves you're being attacked by the nervous system. What chance has a man got against a system? ~Russell Hoban
The knowledge of the world is only to be acquired in the world, and not in a closet. ~Lord Philip Dormer Stanhope Chesterfield
Many great ideas have been lost because the people who had them could not stand being laughed at. ~Author Unknown
Prudence keeps life safe, but does not often make it happy. ~Samuel Johnson
Fear is static that prevents me from hearing myself. ~Samuel Butler
Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
People are crying up the rich and variegated plumage of the peacock, and he is himself blushing at the sight of his ugly feet. ~Sa'Di
Once you become self-conscious, there is no end to it; once you start to doubt, there is no room for anything else. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
There are offences given and offences not given but taken. ~Izaak Walton
Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people. ~André Dubus
I'm not a recluse — I'm just playing hard-to-get with society. ~Author Unknown #infj
You probably wouldn't worry about what people think of you if you could know how seldom they do! ~Olin Miller
The shy and the extroverted have this in common — that they both fancy they are the center of attention. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
Men are not against you; they are merely for themselves. ~Gene Fowler, Skyline, 1961
When I am anxious it is because I am living in the future. When I am depressed it is because I am living in the past. ~Author Unknown
Sometimes even to live is an act of courage. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca, Letters to Lucilius
The only courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one moment to the next. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
Deep in the greenwood of my heart
Is my abiding-place:
I cloak my soul at feast and mart;
I mask my face.
Outlawed, but not alone, for Truth
Is outlawed, too.
You cannot banish us, proud world:
We banish you.
~Alfred Noyes, "The Outlaw," The Century Magazine, January 1912
Do not be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. What if they are a little course, and you may get your coat soiled or torn? What if you do fail, and get fairly rolled in the dirt once or twice. Up again, you shall never be so afraid of a tumble. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Some days, we're just looking for a soft place to land. ~Dr. SunWolf, professorsunwolf.com #hsp #infj
In solitude, where we are least alone. ~George Gordon, Lord Byron, Childe Harold's Pilgrimage #infj
I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.... My hemmings and hawings over the telephone cause long-distance callers to switch from their native English to pathetic French. At parties, if I attempt to entertain people with a good story, I have to go back to every other sentence for oral erasures and inserts.... In these circumstances nobody should ask me to submit to an interview if by "interview" a chat between two normal human beings is implied. ~Vladimir Nabokov, 1973, Foreword, Strong Opinions
For those uneasy with the world, solitude is the only guarantee of confidence. ~Terri Guillemets
If one is forever cautious, can one remain a human being? ~Aleksander Solzhenitsyn
There are those who are so scrupulously afraid of doing wrong that they seldom venture to do anything. ~Vauvenargues
If things go wrong, don't go with them. ~Roger Babson
If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep. ~Dale Carnegie
I've developed a new philosophy... I only dread one day at a time. ~Charles Schulz
Troubles are a lot like people — they grow bigger if you nurse them. ~Author Unknown
If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. ~E. Joseph Cossman
Real difficulties can be overcome, it is only the imaginary ones that are unconquerable. ~Theodore N. Vail
Every evening I turn my worries over to God. He's going to be up all night anyway. ~Mary C. Crowley
It is only when we silent the blaring sounds of our daily existence that we can finally hear the whispers of truth that life reveals to us, as it stands knocking on the doorsteps of our hearts. ~K.T. Jong
I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal — and soon they'll forget my number. ~Edith Armstrong
Nerves provide me with energy. They work for me. It's when I don't have them, when I feel at ease, that I get worried. ~Mike Nichols
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief.... For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. ~Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things"
People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross. ~Author Unknown
You block your dream when you allow your fear to grow bigger than your faith. ~Mary Manin Morrissey
Fear is a darkroom where negatives develop. ~Usman B. Asif
Panic at the thought of doing a thing is a challenge to do it. ~Henry S. Haskins
Some people are so sensitive they feel snubbed if an epidemic overlooks them. ~Frank Hubbard
There are people who have an appetite for grief; pleasure is not strong enough and they crave pain. They have mithridatic stomachs which must be fed on poisoned bread, natures so doomed that no prosperity can sooth their ragged and dishevelled desolation. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can't wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time. ~Pat Schroeder
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard
Worry is like a rocking chair—it gives you something to do, but it won't get you anywhere! ~Author Unknown
Somehow our devils are never quite what we expect when we meet them face to face. ~Nelson DeMille
"I think he's lovely," said Anne reproachfully. "He is so very sympathetic. He didn't mind how much I talked — he seemed to like it. I felt that he was a kindred spirit as soon as ever I saw him."
"You're both queer enough, if that's what you mean by kindred spirits," said Marilla with a sniff.
~L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
From restless thoughts, that, like a deadly swarm
Of hornets arm'd, no sooner found alone,
But rush upon me thronging.
~John Milton #infj
...her mind astir with pictures and emotions. ~Israel Zangwill, Dreamers of the Ghetto, "From a Mattress Grave," 1897 #infj
We undervalue, I think, the courage of simple, everyday civility. What do we know of another person's day, of their worries and anxieties, of how deep into their innermost resources they had to reach for that gracious smile, that pleasant hello. ~Robert Brault, rbrault.blogspot.com
For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. ~Author Unknown #infj
Don't shoulder the burdens of others!...
Each man has his own special troubles,
His worries and problems and woes;
Give aid when you can to each mortal,
But try not to feel all his blows!
For you, too, have burdens to carry;
And, if you just wear yourself out
In agony over all others,
How can you, your own troubles, rout?
~Gertrude Buckingham, "Good Advice"
It only seems as if you are doing something when you're worrying. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery
A hundredload of worry will not pay an ounce of debt. ~George Herbert
Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body. ~Martin Luther
Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weights you down. ~Toni Morrison
As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey. ~Thomas A. Edison
Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. ~Swedish Proverb
We live in a very tense society. We are pulled apart... and we all need to learn how to pull ourselves together.... I think that at least part of the answer lies in solitude. ~Helen Hayes #infj
When what I express to another isn't felt or wanted or understood, the feeling goes back into myself and stabs me. ~Olivia Dresher #infj
My generation is not strong. My grandfather fought in World War II. I had a panic attack during the series finale of Breaking Bad. ~Matt Donaher
For the INFJ, all of reality is surreal. ~Terri Guillemets
All of our reasoning ends in surrender to feeling. ~Blaise Pascal #infj
Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time. Some people bear three — all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have. ~Edward Everett Hale
We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it. ~John Newton
When I really worry about something, I don't just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don't go. I'm too worried to go. I don't want to interrupt my worrying to go. ~J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye
[A]ny concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. ~Corrie Ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook
I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. "Never worry about your heart till it stops beating." ~E.B. White
For sensitive human beings... a hole in the ego can be worse than a hole in the heart. ~Norman Mailer, address at Hopwood Awards, University of Michigan, April 1984 #criticism #hsp #infj
There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry... Yesterday and Tomorrow. ~Robert Jones Burdette
Worry is rust upon the blade. ~Henry Ward Hughes
Loneliness, insomnia, and change: the fear of these is even worse than the reality. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. ~George MacDonald
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you. ~Calvin Coolidge
Only man clogs his happiness with care, destroying what is with thoughts of what may be. ~John Dryden
Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due. ~William Ralph Inge
There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality. ~Seneca
We are more disturbed by a calamity which threatens us than by one which has befallen us. ~John Lancaster Spalding
Grief has limits, whereas apprehension has none. For we grieve only for what we know has happened, but we fear all that possibly may happen. ~Pliny the Younger
He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears. ~Montaigne
No human thing is of serious importance. ~Plato
Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow. ~Philip Gulley
Don't fight with the pillow, but lay down your head
And kick every worriment out of the bed.
~Edmund Vance Cooke
There is a time to take counsel of your fears, and there is a time to never listen to any fear. ~George S. Patton
Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them. ~Brendan Francis
There is much in the world to make us afraid. There is much more in our faith to make us unafraid. ~Frederick W. Cropp
Fear is faith that it won't work out. ~Sister Mary Tricky
Fear is the lengthened shadow of ignorance. ~Arnold Glasow
Fear is the highest fence. ~Dudley Nichols
Fear has a large shadow, but he himself is small. ~Ruth Gendler
Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends. ~Shirley Maclaine
I have accepted fear as a part of life — specifically the fear of change.... I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says: turn back. ~Erica Jong
If a man harbors any sort of fear, it percolates through all thinking, damages his personality and makes him a landlord to a ghost. ~Lloyd Douglas
Fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. ~Author Unknown
He who fears something gives it power over him. ~Moorish Proverb
Feed your faith and your fears will starve to death. ~Author Unknown
Fear can be headier than whiskey, once man has acquired a taste for it. ~Donald Dowes
The way you overcome shyness is to become so wrapped up in something that you forget to be afraid. ~Lady Bird Johnson
Fear makes the wolf bigger than he is. ~German Proverb
No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. ~Eleanor Roosevelt
It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. ~Sally Field
It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not. ~Attributed to Hanoch McCarty
We have to learn to be our own best friends because we fall too easily into the trap of being our own worst enemies. ~Roderick Thorp, Rainbow Drive
Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right. ~Virgil, et al. See: quoteinvestigator.com/2015/02/03/you-can
If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price. ~Author Unknown
Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage. ~Anaïs Nin
Argue for your limitations and, sure enough, they're yours. ~Richard Bach, Illusions
It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves. ~Edmund Hillary
It's hard to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. ~Sally Kempton, Esquire, 1970
When the grass looks greener on the other side of the fence, it may be that they take better care of it there. ~Cecil Selig
Other people's opinion of you does not have to become your reality. ~Les Brown
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go.
If you doubt yourself, then indeed you stand on shaky ground. ~Henrik Ibsen
To lead by example is difficult when you're a follower of fear. ~T.A. Sachs
If we all did the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves. ~Thomas Alva Edison
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt. ~William Shakespeare, Measure for Measure
Just as much as we see in others we have in ourselves. ~William Hazlitt
Your problem is you're... too busy holding onto your unworthiness. ~Ram Dass
Learning too soon our limitations, we never learn our powers. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
It's me who is my enemy
Me who beats me up
Me who makes the monsters
Me who strips my confidence.
~Paula Cole, "Me," This Fire
There are more than 7 billion people on Earth. Of those, 20% are born with highly refined nervous systems that influence many aspects of their personality and worldview. 62 million Americans — 1.4 billion people worldwide — process things more deeply.... I believe our nervous systems have been wired for us to bring forth a different kind of leading, and a different kind of living — a radical departure from the rude, crude, violent, mind-numbing ways that have dominated our norms, despite them being so ecologically and psychologically destructive. I believe highly sensitive people are neurologically wired to respond to our planet's call — from business to biosphere — to step forward and bring forth many missing virtues from our culture... tenderness, compassion, empathy, benevolence, collaboration, inspiration, joy... virtues that have been confused for weakness, but are actually needed in every realm of our lives. ~Erika Harris, empathicwriter.com #hsp
No one understands yet there's hope, then finally one day you find one who does and no matter what, life will always be good thereafter. ~Terri Guillemets #infj
Don't let anyone steal your dream. It's your dream, not theirs. ~Dan Zadra
If you must love your neighbor as yourself, it is at least as fair to love yourself as your neighbor. ~Sébastien-Roch Nicolas (Chamfort)
I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~Louisa May Alcott
When there is no enemy within, the enemies outside cannot hurt you. ~African Proverb
The way you treat yourself sets the standard for others. ~Sonya Friedman
Follow Terri Guillemets' board HSP-INFJ Comfort on Pinterest.
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 is not just in some of us; it is 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, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles," 1992 (commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela)
The neurotic longs to touch bottom, so at least he won't have that to worry about anymore. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960
The neurotic is always half-drowning in anxiety, and always being half-rescued. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic's Notebook, 1960 #infj
Sadness is almost never anything but a form of fatigue. ~Andre Gide
It is some relief to weep; grief is satisfied and carried off by tears. ~Ovid
Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it. ~Albert Smith
Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self esteem, first make sure you are not, in fact, just surrounded by [@$$höles]. ~Notorious d.e.b., @debihope
People who do not understand themselves have a craving for understanding. ~Wilhelm Stekel #infj
I was seized by the stern hand of Compulsion, that dark, unseasonable Urge that impels women to clean house in the middle of the night. ~James Thurber
If my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well. ~Rainer Maria Rilke, on leaving psychotherapy
A neurotic is a man who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the man who lives in it. A psychiatrist is the man who collects the rent. ~Jerome Lawrence
The two main hazards of psychoanalysis: that it might fail, and that if it succeeds, you'll never be able to forgive yourself for all those wasted years. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966
Mental health problems do not affect three or four out of every five persons but one out of one. ~William Menninger
A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work. ~Geoffrey Norman
We are always getting ready to live but never living. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
We crucify ourselves between two thieves: regret for yesterday and fear of tomorrow. ~Fulton Oursler
The ability to be in the present moment is a major component of mental wellness. ~Abraham Maslow
I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges and scrub the floor. ~D.H. Lawrence
One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon — instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. ~Dale Carnegie
Pile up too many tomorrows and you'll find that you've collected nothing but a bunch of empty yesterdays. ~The Music Man
Every man has his own courage, and is betrayed because he seeks in himself the courage of other persons. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I'll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear — not absence of fear. ~Mark Twain, Pudd'nhead Wilson's Calendar, 1894
Courage is being afraid but going on anyhow. ~Dan Rather
Sometimes the biggest act of courage is a small one. ~Lauren Raffo
Courage is the power to let go of the familiar. ~Raymond Lindquist
When we are afraid we ought not to occupy ourselves with endeavoring to prove that there is no danger, but in strengthening ourselves to go on in spite of the danger. ~Mark Rutherford
No one has yet computed how many imaginary triumphs are silently celebrated by people each year to keep up their courage. ~Henry S. Haskins
Courage is fear holding on a minute longer. ~George Smith Patton
Courage is to feel the daily daggers of relentless steel and keep on living. ~Douglas Malloch
Her wide, vacant eyes saw nothing, but her mental vision, grown suddenly acute, was confronted by a thronging array of images.... She went over mentally almost every incident in her intercourse with Reuben.... The conventions, the disguises, which she had been taught to regard as the only realities, fell down suddenly before the living reality....
Opposite was a mirror... and suddenly Judith caught sight of her own reflected face with its wild eyes and flushed cheeks; her face was usually so calm. Calm? Had she ever been calm, save with the false calmness which narcotic drugs bestow? She was frightened of herself, of her own daring, of the wild, strange thoughts and feelings which struggled for mastery within her. There is nothing more terrible, more tragic than this ignorance of a woman of her own nature, her own possibilities, her own passions.
She covered her face with her hands, and in the darkness the thoughts came crowding (was it thought, or vision, or feeling?). The inexorable realities of her world, those realities of which she had so rarely allowed herself to lose sight, came pressing back upon her with renewed insistence. That momentary glow of exultation, of self-vindication faded before the hard daylight which rushed in upon her soul. She saw not only how it had all been, but how it would all be to the end....
[S]he lived over again that near, far-off, wonderful moment.... Baffled, vanquished, she lay there, crushing out the sound of unresisted sobs....
Nothing had happened; everything had happened. Judith felt that she had grown older in the night.... That brief moment of clear vision, of courage, had faded, as we know, even as it came....
Before the great mysteries of life her soul grew frozen and appalled. It seemed to her, as she sat there in the fading light, that this is the bitter lesson of existence: that the sacred serves only to teach the full meaning of sacrilege; the beautiful of the hideous; modesty of outrage; joy of sorrow; life of death.
~Amy Levy (1861–1889), Reuben Sachs: A Sketch, 1888 [Though I don't typically post such long excerpts, this series of passages struck me as an amazingly accurate descriptive account of the sudden and quick yet lingering, ceaseless ebb and flow of the emotions and thoughts, the ever-fluctuating self-confidence and humiliation, neverending war amongst doubt and tenacity, fear and nerve, of an INFJ personality.
The future is called "perhaps," which is the only possible thing to call the future. And the only important thing is not to allow that to scare you. ~Tennessee Williams, Orpheus Descending
What great thing would you attempt if you knew you could not fail? ~Robert H. Schuller
If you surrender to the wind, you can ride it. ~Toni Morrison
Face what you think you believe and you will be surprised. ~William Hale White
The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs. ~Charles de Gaulle #infj
What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Henry Stanley Haskins, Meditations in Wall Street, 1940, originally published anonymously; commonly misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (Thanks, Garson O'Toole and walden.org!)
Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
@ ~ @ ~ @ ~ @ ~ @ ~ @ ~ @ ~ @ ~ @
[And then we have one of my tints of social anxiety: Very British Problems...
Shutting yourself in the wardrobe until the window cleaner has finished and left. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)
Panicking in a sandwich shop and allowing a distressingly bizarre combination of fillings to occur. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)
Saying your meal was lovely, despite a slight fear it might kill you in the night. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)
Suspecting you've been overcharged, so making sure to frown as you insert your debit card and pay in full. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)
Concentrating to within an inch of your life on the pre-flight safety briefing, to compensate for those ignoring it. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013)
[And so, my dear readers....]
Spare a thought for those poor VBP sufferers living abroad, surrounded by relaxed, uninhibited extroverts, going about their daily life with barely a single unnecessary apology passing their lips. ~Rob Temple, @SoVeryBritish (Very British Problems: Making Life Awkward for Ourselves, One Rainy Day at a Time, 2013) #introvert #infj