Today, I want to speak briefly about courage and how to find it in yourself when you need it. We all need courage every day of our lives. I know in writing you should NEVER include a definition in your starting paragraph, but I think in this instance, it is acceptable. According to dictionary.com, courage is the quality of being ready and willing to face negative situations involving danger or pain. But danger and pain don’t have to be the classic meaning of danger and pain. Danger could be leaving your safe zone. For example, you have a steady job that gives you a steady income. However, you are not happy at this job, but don’t want to leave for the unknown. A common idiom is “a known devil is better than an unknown angel.” But I don’t think this is true at all, and it take courage to go with the unknown angel and a lot of times, will be better than the known devil. Pain doesn’t have to mean physical pain, it could mean emotional pain. Another example, you’re in a relationship with someone you know isn’t the right one but you love anyways. It takes courage to leave that person even though it will cause you emotional pain.
So how do you get courage in your everyday life? I started thinking about courage and bravery years ago when I was unhappy at my job. I was reading the young adult novel ‘Divergent’ and was surprised at the theme of bravery and courage throughout the entire book. And, because it was a young adult novel, it was right there for you to gain insight without having to slog through a lot of metaphors and overly complicated wording (often I feel like authors try too hard to be intelligent so people know that they’re intelligent and ruins a book for me). But reading ‘Divergent’ helped put things in perspective for me, and really made me think “Why not?”
My number one advice, don’t ever do anything rash. I don’t think actions are courageous if they are based completely on emotions. If you’re angry and you quit your job on impulse, that isn’t courage, that’s letting your emotions run away from you. That first step of coming to the realization that you need to change something in your life is courageous. You’re going against your status quo and possibly upheaving what you know. The next step is taking stock of what you have or need to change your circumstances. And then plan, plan, plan. Don’t get me wrong, you don’t have to having a fully fleshed out plan before you take action, but you should know the next logical step you need to take in order to get to where you want to go. At the same time, the Nike co-opted phrase “Just do it” is helpful when you get stuck. Go out and make your best life, just do it.
Once you’ve moved forward, if there isn’t a lesson to learn or fond memories, don’t look back and ruminate on your past choices. Go forward with a good outlook, excited for life. 9 out of 10 times, your outlook will make your circumstances better. And then remember: one of the greatest displays of courage involves facing situations despite fear. You can do what scares you.