Discovering the Courage Within
by Karen Asp
Christopher Columbus needed courage. So did Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, leading to the end of segregation on public transportation. History is littered with courageous acts and courageous people.
You do not have to be a world-class explorer or activist to have courage. Everybody needs it, but how do you get it, especially when you are like the lion from the Wizard of Oz?
As the lion had to learn, courage exists inside of you. You just have to dredge it up after years of burying it behind your safety zones.
The Inborn Courage in You
Everyone was born with courage. You may not remember learning how to walk, but you know you fell hundreds of times before you stood on your own. Learning to walk took courage. And you succeeded because you had little fear or doubt.
Eventually, that changed. Parents and other caregivers told you to be careful, to avoid dangers. Society, after all, values comfort over fulfillment.
Your Capacity for Adversity TOP
As you grew up, you patterned your response to adversity on how people around you responded to difficulty. As a baby, your capacity to face adversity is untested. It develops as you age and gain experience. It can also be strengthened.
Courage As a Necessity TOP
Why do you need courage? Because courage will help you live your life the way you want by helping you overcome fear.
Linda Larsen, for example, knows firsthand the power of courage. Over 20 years ago, she was kidnapped, raped, and held hostage for over five hours. She summoned courage she did not know she had and escaped. "My courage didn't let me down," she says. "Once you know courage is always in you, you can start learning to act more courageously in life."
Obstacles to Becoming Braver TOP
There are, though, things that stand between you and your courageous self, such as :
Finding Courage in Times of Need TOP
You draw courage from what matters to you. For example, if you have been offered a job that will force you to move across the country but you do not care about the job, you will have a hard time finding courage to make the move.
When you have decided what matters, follow these suggestions for becoming more courageous.