I used to think that to be a courageous person you needed to do great things. You had to be a soldier, a mountain climber, or a person who gave speeches for a living. I put all the things I believed I couldn’t do and labeled it courageous. I tucked it away with, “bravery,” and “creative,” and everything else I would never be.
What I realized when I got older was that courage was born within us, that it came in waves of small feats as well as big ones. Every moment offered an invitation to either walk toward the fire or turn away from its light. It was the decisions we make in life that brand us courageous or cowardly. It was deciding to keep on going despite the fear that made us courageous.
Courage is not always the hero, the fighter, the risk-taker. The rabbit that crosses a path in daylight to find food is every bit as brave as the lion who savages his next victim. Just like it is not only the successful CEO who has taken risks to get to where she is, but the mother who wakes up each day to love and care for her children that deserves to wear that badge of courage. It’s both what we do and decide not to do that can be courageous. And we don’t have to wait for a true hero to inspire our own bouts of courage.
Brandi-Ann Uyemura is a freelance writer who specializes in psychology and self-help articles. She has a MA in Counseling Psychology and writes for several publications and websites.