Vocabulary, redux: Bravery.

So.. Eilidh asked if she could get the “brave” link privately; the answer is no. And in thinking about how to explain that, it occurred to me that I pr’bly would need to expound a bit on bravery and how I think about it.

Many people think of bravery as it relates to public acts – a firefighter rescuing a child from a burning home, police risking themselves to save a hostage – and further, acts of putting oneself in some form of danger for the sake of saving someone else. Someone is brave if they face danger or fear to accomplish something seen as good. Bravery is usually something bestowed – an attribute awarded to someone by another – or something we steel ourselves to be – “I have to be brave and face this thing I’m afraid of”. It’s a shield, given either in recognition of an act or in preparation for one. It’s something reserved for extraordinary times and extraordinary measures.

I think of bravery on a more daily and personal level. We all have demons and ghosts, “bad” habits, negative internal monologues, things we do every day that we take a deep breath before. On a daily basis, we are all at some point called upon by ourselves to be our own kind of brave. Bravery is rarely extraordinary in my eyes, but rather necessary for our survival. But it seems that to make it so commonplace is to diminish the grandeur and importance, the necessary courage to stand up to ourselves and our fears. These acts of daily bravery, though, take far more courage and sustained strength than most single acts that are more publicly lauded. Like those public acts, they therefore also deserve recognition.

Most of us, for our own sanity, have created pathways through our days that don’t require us to face our really big demons regularly. But sometimes, something happens and the day-to-day, remarkable bravery we all rely on is called on to take on one or more of those really big demons. Sometimes, the something that happens means we need to take on that demon every minute of every day until we vanquish it.. at least for now. This kind of bravery is how we grow as people, it’s how we break through the walls we’ve built to protect us, it’s how we learn to see the amazing beauty and possibility in the world around us.

This last example is the flavor of brave I was thinking of, but because such battles are so often fought behind closed doors, I don’t feel it’s my place to reveal the specific person of whom I was thinking. However, because we so rarely label ourselves brave, I wanted to acknowledge in some way the battles it seems so many of us are undertaking and provide the shield – either of recognition or protection, or both as needed – for my friends.

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One thought on “Vocabulary, redux: Bravery.

  1. Eilidh*Cat says:

    Well shared. Thank you.

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