If anyone had asked me if I was courageous, I would have replied ‘no’. I had not defied death or destruction, I had not saved another’s life in the face of personal danger, nor have I parachuted out of a plane. Nope, neither courageous nor heroic. Up until recently, that is, when I had cause to re-consider this.
Amidst the media’s representation of what courage and heroism are – and generally many are also sensational – we seem to have neglected the quiet strength of say, a young boy going to school in the face of adversities; a young girl standing up against gender stereotype to be true to who she is; a woman adjusting to a new culture in a foreign land; or a man rebuilding his career after a setback.
Everyday lives, everyday acts – and within them, acts of courage.
Courage is acknowledging loss, pain, fear…and moving forward, to not let ‘it’ stall your progress, thwart your efforts, quash your dreams, hamper your endeavours or stifle your creativity.
Courage requires movement – not just in the physical sense. It is a mental state and I would posit, a spiritual state as well. It is not passive, it requires active energy – such as the young boy returning to school, the young girl holding her sense of self, the woman creating a new life, and the man seeking and maintaining a new job.
Courage is also seeing ourselves – the less admirable parts, the shadow of our personalities; and facing up to the fact that sometimes or in certain situations, we have been faithless, we have succumbed to bitterness and resentment, we have been unkind – and still stand tall.
It is not my intention to diminish the many reported true acts of courage and heroism and deserving of acknowledgment. Know too if we but to look, we will see acts of courage everyday in our own lives and the lives of those around us. Honour them.
Can you recall the last time you acknowledged your own or someone’s courage?
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow’.” – Mary Anne Radmacher