What is Courage?
Updated: Nov 13, 2018
Does it take courage to jump out of an airplane? Well, only if you’re scared to jump out of an airplane I suppose. Is courage asking someone out on a date? Probably only if you’re fearful of being turned down. Is courage that kind of thing that you know it when you see it? What role does it play in our life?
Merriam-Webster defines courage as “mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty.” As I consider this definition of courage I think about how relative it is, and how it depends on your perception and experiences. It can be interpreted differently based on your personal perspective of what fear, danger, and difficulty mean.
Courage to a toddler learning how to walk means continuing to get back up, even after falling down repeatedly. They may be fearful of falling, or worry that they might get knocked down and hurt themselves. They must be courageous. They must continue to get back up and take that next step, again and again.
For someone who knows how to walk it does not take courage to do so, because they are not fearful of falling. They may not even recognize that walking, for some, even requires courage. For some people, it might take courage to ask for help or to leave an abusive relationship. For others, it might mean getting up in front of an audience and giving a speech. We each have our own fears and difficulties in our lives. It is our very personal life circumstances that lead us to discover what courage means for us.
To me, courage is having determination and persistence. It involves being intentional and mindful in the face of fear or uncertainty. Courage sometimes means being vulnerable, and opening up to others. It’s learning to understand our emotions and thoughts, and then taking action to overcome the often-paralyzing fear of the unknown.
I have been faced with many life situations that have required me to dig deep and find the courage within myself. I have stood face to face with fear, anxiety, and worry. In the past, I have not been as strong as I am now. I often didn’t believe in how strong I really was. I doubted what I was capable of, and allowed fear to flood my thoughts. Each difficult situation that I have faced has challenged me to become a stronger and more courageous version of myself.
The most uncertain times in my life are what led to the most growth in my ability to act from a place of courage rather than fear. From my first heartbreak to the wake-up call of a life-changing accident, I have discovered that if my decisions come from a place of intuition and trust then that is my courage.
My understanding of courage is ever changing with each challenging or unfamiliar life situation that I encounter. Whatever courage means to you, know that you can transform your life when you act from a place of intuition and trust rather than fear.
I wholeheartedly believe that with intention and courage we can overcome fear and live our most joyful lives.