It took quite some time to zero in on what I wanted to say about courage. But it soon dawned on me that the answer was hidden in plain sight. You see, just days ago, I re-watched
Bravery and courage—all of us, in some capacity, wish to be courageous. And we've all heard it before: courage is not the absence of fear, but rather what is done in spite of fear. Easier said than done, right?
But one of the things that strikes me about courage is that it is often uncomfortable or terrifying. I guess it really shouldn't come off as a surprise—after all, if courage is what is done in spite of fear, it wouldn't be a stretch to say courage is driven by fear. Can you be courageous if you are not fearful?
In Disney's Brave, Merida encounters several trials on her journey that require her to muster up some good ol' courage. We also see her climbing mountains freely and doing other dangerous things. To many of us, we would look at her doing these dangerous things and label that as courage. But, really, as we learn during the course of the film is that Merida's courage manifests itself in times of greatest fear.
In Courage the Cowardly Dog, the quintessential guide to mastering your emotions, the juxtaposition of Courage and his cowardly personality really hit home the idea that courage is what appears when the drive to overcome fear takes over. I mean, child me could only take so much without having nightmares, but that pink dog had to live that life.
So, if courage is driven by fear, I guess what it boils down to is: it's OK to be fearful. In fact, it's human. You're not meant to be fearless. That's ridiculous. No one is asking you to be a paragon of bravery.
You are meant to be (and have the capacity to be) brave. It's not easy—no one is saying that it is. Overcoming your fears is a process, just like everything else. And like with most processes it takes longer for some than others.
These days, we're often told of the people who left it all behind to chase a dream. Entrepreneurial growth in the last decade has seen some pretty seriously cool advancements made all because someone (or someones) decided that the potential that lay on the other side of fear far outweighed the "security" of being on this side. But you don't have to look at them and say, "I wish I could be that daring," because... well... you can. And sometimes, all it takes is a good whapping from yourself, to yourself.
As a young, wise philosopher once elegantly put:
Peace out, girl scout.