Musings and Snoozes

“Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.”

on November 1, 2017

Courage Definition

Yesterday was a complicated day, starting with the beginnings of a panic attack at not being able to find a parking space at the Doctor’s (where ironically, I went to discuss my anxiety), and then later admitting to myself that I needed something to focus on to get me through the rest of the day, which led me to Brené Brown’s TED Talks (as recommended by a friend – thank you Lovely Lady).

And so that in turn, led me to this.

“Courage and Bravery are two different things”

When Dad died, so many people called me brave. And my mum too. Like at 19 and 58 respectively, my mum and I were doing something so amazing in dealing with the natural Circle of Life, and the grief that comes with it, that it warranted being labelled as bravery. It wasn’t bravery, but it was courage. Courage is being vulnerable, being, if not comfortable, then at least OK with being vulnerable. It’s necessary. And that really hit me. We weren’t brave, it was just necessary.

It’s just passed the 11 year anniversary since Dad died, and mum and I often talk about how we coped in the weeks following. Most of the stories are funny – the fact that we lived on take-out for about 3 weeks because Dad did all the cooking and we didn’t know what to do, is one of my favourites. Telling people not to be nice is another – “Don’t be nice to me, I’ll cry!”. We did that a lot. Going to Tesco mere hours after he’d died to buy bread and milk, because we just needed normality. And then shouting at the poor man who chose that same moment to try and sell us a Credit Card and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Pretty sure that was the start of the long running “I’m a poor widow women” get-out clause!

But there were less funny ones too – adjusting to life was hard. When such a key part of your life, of your plans, of your future, your everyday, just disappears, that is incredibly hard. People always say it gets easier with time, and it does, but the reason it gets easier with time is because your normality adjusts. If it didn’t, or if you didn’t let it, then it will never get easier with time. And that’s not comfortable, in fact it’s extremely uncomfortable, but when those people told Mum and I we were brave, our reply was always the same “what choice do we have? We either get on with it, accept that it’s crap, that’s it’s hard, that it’s horrible, but acknowledge that our lives will be different. Or we run away and hide and cry and never get over it.” And that’s courage, not bravery.

Courage can get us through a hell of a lot. Just because it’s not bravery, don’t ever underestimate it. Embrace it, embrace how horribly uncomfortable it can be, how vulnerable it can make us feel, especially when it involves admitting that things aren’t how you’d like or that sometimes you just have to ask for help. Courage is knowing something is difficult, but acknowledging it, embracing it, and attacking it all the same, because it’s necessary. We all do it, it doesn’t have to be something as life changing as losing a loved one, it can be getting out of bed in the morning and doing that one thing you really didn’t want to do, the one thing you’d really rather just run from and pretend it doesn’t exist. That’s courage, and for what it’s worth, I think you deserve to congratulate yourself for that.

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One response to ““Courage is contagious. Every time we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better and the world a little braver.”

  1. […] written about vulnerability before and for my love of Brene Brown, but it’s been playing on my mind again recently, […]

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