Gaining Courage in the Face of Fear

What is Courage?

Courage is the ability to do something that frightens you. It is the strength you need to face pain or grief and the strength in the face of a tornado, an earthquake or the global coronavirus pandemic.

The word courage originated from the Old French word “corage”, from the Latin word “cor”, which means ”heart”.

Why is Courage Important?

Courage is important if you want to begin something that you want to do or when you have to face a crisis. It allows you to act despite being fearful.

Courage is important for putting aside your fear of failure; especially if you have to venture off into the unknown or if you want to go for what you want. It’s important for overcoming anxiety characterized by the fear of rejection or self doubt caused by negative self talk.

Courage is more important than confidence. Confidence is very important; it comes from believing you can do something, but courage on the other hand is doing something despite being fearful.

Courage and Confidence are like yin and yang, because they depend on one another. Without courage we never develop confidence and a confident person can be brought down when facing a crisis if it weren’t for courage.

Examples of Courage?

Courage can come in all shapes and forms. It could come from you standing up for someone who’s being bullied, asking your crush on a date, racing into a burning building to save someone’s life or being courageous in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.

We’ve been seeing 24/7 news coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. There’s been more of an emphasis on the negative things that many people have been doing in reaction to this crisis including attacking other people for their toilet paper or bottled water or the spreading of misinformation. 

How about the awesome people who’ve been courageous since this crisis started? 

There hasn’t been enough said about the moral courage from the doctors, nurses and other medical staff in the face of the intense challenges they’ve been facing and the one’s they’re facing right now. 

It was reported that in Seattle, Washington of epidemiologist Dr. Helen Chu demonstrated great moral courage by reporting critical data to health officials despite being told by federal authorities not to. There was a group of study participants she wanted to test for coronavirus to determine if it had arrived in Washington state, however she was denied authorization. 

Despite being denied Dr. Chu still had an ethical obligation and went ahead with the testing anyway and found a teenager had tested positive for the virus despite not traveling abroad or contact history, demonstrating community spread. This information was sent to a public health official just before this teen was sent back to school. Even after all that the federal government served her with a cease and desist order. 

Here is a more lighthearted example of courage.  There was a news story from Spain that I saw about pets that were left behind due to their owners getting sick with the coronavirus. A group of volunteers from the kindness of their hearts looked after these abandoned pets. If and when their owners recover and are released from the hospital they will be reunited with their pets.

How To Become More Courageous?

The examples written above show why courage is a universally admired quality that’s very important to have. 

Ways To Become More Courageous Include:

Face The Fear of the Unknown: Becoming more courageous can be as simple as finding the cause of your fear, questioning what the cause of it is, accepting it, riding the wave of fear and learning to embrace change.

Use Relaxation Techniques: Fear can be paradoxal; a little bit of fear can amp you up and transform you into your best self and at the same time too much fear can shut you down and leave you stuck. It’s important to keep your physiological responses in check and this can be achieved by using relaxation techniques such as tactical breathing and mindful meditation.

Learn New Skills: There are many scenarios that involve risk and danger, it pays to develop a wide range of skills such as self-defense and first aid, to automotive repair and the ability to speak a foreign language. The more knowledge of what to do when trouble arises the braver a person you will be.

Think of Yourself Less: The more egocentric you are, the more scared you’re going to get about taking action. Egocentrism can lead to someone becoming more self-conscious about what other people think of them when and if they make a decision. This way of thinking leads to fear and anxiety that leads to decision paralysis and inaction.

Form Closer Relationships: Being from a culture that’s individualized and atomized (fragmented) we’re taught that drawing strength from being part of a group is something that’s negative. In reality it can be the opposite, because having close friends and family can cause you to act in a more positive and courageous way when a crisis occurs.

Do Something New Once a Week: At least once a week engage in something that will make a little nervous or scared in order to keep you outside your comfort zone. This can include something simple as eating out at a restaurant that is unfamiliar, hiking on an unfamiliar trail, traveling to an unfamiliar place or studying something that is challenging.

Lean Into Your Role: An effective way to become less self-conscious is to start thinking about the actions you need to take to transition into your more courageous self. Overtime when you lean into the role that you need to be to help others it’s no longer just about you.

How Courageous Are You?

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Sources:

https://thriveglobal.com/stories/courage-a-matter-of-the-heart/

https://medium.com/better-humans/why-courage-is-more-important-than-confidence-f97865efc930

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