What is Courage and ways to be more courageous
What is your definition of courage? According to Google, it’s the ability to do something that frightens one; bravery and strength in the face of pain or grief. Brene Brown writes “the root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is important, and we certainly need heroes, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line.
While courage can take on different forms, whether it’s in doing a good deed, change, communication, mindset just to mention a few. Perhaps courage is not something we either have, or we don’t but instead something that we develop as we encounter challenges and choose to face them. Courage and fear can both be present, and it comes down to what we do while we are feeling fearful. Just like confidence, courage can be exercised. Can you think of a time when you chose to be courageous? Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of our capabilities, both big and small and use them to expand how we see ourselves.
Let’s look at some ways to increase our courage:
- Be authentically you
Own your choices, uniqueness and truth. Be authentic to who you are. We can fall into the trap of pleasing others while losing sight ourselves and our convictions. What would it look like to authentically love yourself and grow from that place?
- Discover your purpose
You need courage to go beyond what’s familiar and having a purpose does just that. Having a purpose that is bigger than ourselves can help us take our eyes off our limitations, giving us a reason to press forward and benefit others in the process. People with a sense of purpose feel less anxiety and stress (Hagerty, 2016). If you haven’t given purpose, much thought a starting place is to think about what are you most passionate about?
- Find your people
We thrive in community and draw strength from the support of others. Having supportive people in our corner can help us face adversity and encourage us along the way. Have you established a support network?
- The power of choice
Taking the bull by its horns looks like dealing with a difficult situation in a very direct or confident way, and this may be the best option for us however at times courage could also look like letting someone else take the bull by its horns, or it could be simply letting go. Courage is not blind but somewhat intentional! The power of choice is powerful because we can access the situation we find ourselves in, gather information, own the choice and act on it. I wonder if the process itself requires courage.
On a finishing note, courage takes on different forms from feeling fear and choosing to act, persevering in the face of adversity, being authentically yourself, standing up for what is right, letting go of the familiar and the list goes on. Allow yourself to think about how far you’ve come and make a list of all times you chose to be courageous.