Empowering Your “Self “
What comes to mind when you think of Courage?
Besides taking calculated risks and doing something different, such as bungee jumping, skydiving, or participating in a car race, courage goes beyond the physicality, for courage defines the character of a person according to their degree or ability of being truthful, acting righteously, and standing up for his/her beliefs despite opposition, consequences and even the possibility of conflict, awkward feelings and humiliation.
Every person who lives life to the fullest faces numerous challenges, and facing adverse situations calls for a certain degree or courage instead of fleeing or skirting.
But being courageous is not a synonym of being fearless. You see, there is a common misconception that a brave person never feels any fear. This is not the case. A courageous person is one who is capable of getting a grip on fear to then transform the fear into a motivating force.
Examine the case of Helen Keller. As a blind and deaf girl, she definitely had her own set of fears to overcome and was well outside the societal definition of normal which distanced her from social help. However, with the guidance and mentoring from Anne Sullivan at her side, she overcame the fear engendered by her shortcomings and evolved to be a universal symbol of hope, courage and faith. The biography of Keller shows us that the huge challenges in her life could have made her a non-believer of her potential as a human being.
Courage can be instilled in the mind and developed by addressing certain related traits:
- Self Efficacy
When you know that you are capable of handling yourself in any situation, and that you can face anything that life throws at you, courage becomes a state of mind that strengthens you sub-consciously and then consciously. The result is bravery and self-efficacy.
- Hunger for Knowledge
Remember that fear is based on ignorance and to combat this, gaining information is your best weapon. When you feel insecure or fearful about creating or undertaking something new, start by acknowledging your fears and then move onto action without allowing your fear to paralyze you. For instance, you can do some research to learn more about the subject that is causing discomfort. As you gain knowledge, you will be surprised to notice that your fears subsides considerably as you gain strength and ideas to deal with the issue at hand.
You must make a voluntary effort to state firmly to yourself that there is always room for change and improvement. Reinforce your hope and faith in yourself to reduce the sting of your fear and become more brave as you navigate through life. One of my favorite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt says… “He who loses money, loses much. He who loses a friend, loses much more. He who loses hope, loses all.”
Defined as the ability to bounce back from a setback, resilience is an innate quality of human beings that can be developed over time. Resilience gives you the ability to recover from the sores of life, and move on with more experience and self assurance, as you become aware that you have increased your possibilities of becoming victorious if you were to encounter similar circumstances in the future.
There are also a couple of markers that indicate that a person has a brave heart:
- Willingness to Experiment
A brave person has nothing to fear from the uncertainty and surprises that accompany an experiment. To experiment is to invite new experiences that will further enhance the capacity for change and broaden the horizons of the mind. A courageous individual is open to changes, and is appreciative of them, as he/she is confident about his/her abilities. In this sense, life is formed of a multitude of experiments where we learn and get more courage as we go.
- Emotional Stability
A courageous person does not need to always be a dynamic personality, a man or woman of action. The mark of a brave heart is not loud action, but the quiet stability that emanates fromthose that are emotionally stable and strong. Not panicking even in a threatening situation and being able to count on clarity of though even when in a tough spot are the traits of a courageous human being.
Courageousness is a quality, a value and a trait. When you have courage you have impressed upon the value in your conscious mind. By the constant evaluation and re-evaluation of your “self” and see from a distance how you reacted to specific situations, you get to analyze and decide if you could have done something more favorable for a better outcome.
Also, when you feel courageous, you will have learned to identify your fears, and even scrutinize them; however, you don’t become engulfed or paralyzed by them. As you notice that your faculties and abilities are increasing and that your fears are becoming more manageable, courage inevitably develops.
May you develop the courage you need to succeed in life!