How would you define courage? If we think about it, courage is a word that is often associated with physical acts. People facing difficulty or danger and continuing anyway. Soldiers show great courage placing themselves in danger for a cause that they may or may not agree with every time. Some people test their courage by challenging themselves through extreme sports or other physical challenges. Every day, in places plagued by war, there would be people who show immense courage simply to survive. People who are struggling with illness both noticeable and hidden show courage every day just to make it to the next day. We know about these courageous acts and we are aware that they occur but what about the types of courage that we don’t hear about very often? The ones that are happening right now that perhaps nobody will ever know about or acknowledge. Those quiet triumphs that aren’t sensational enough to promote in the media. I’m certain that each one of us has experienced this kind of courage at some stage in our lives.
Think about the parent who has been sleep deprived for days, weeks or months; has had to deal with crying, tantrums, poo, vomit, endless questions and all other manner of trials given to parents on a daily basis but they just keep going. They put a smile on their face and show kindness and love to those same little people who are the cause of the bags under their eyes and the cup of tea or coffee that has gone cold again because they didn’t get time to drink it. It doesn’t matter what day it is, what time it is or how they are feeling, these parents just keep going. This is the kind of courage that I like to think about and recognise. This is true strength. If you are one of these parents currently, please know that your actions are making a difference in the lives of your children. Your courage and strength to continue is important and it doesn’t go unnoticed despite what you might think. Your children notice! They might not let you know for a long time but believe me, they notice and they appreciate it.
There is a different kind of courage that I also like to acknowledge and that is the courage to identify when you need help and being able to ask for it. I don’t really like asking for help if I’m honest so I remind myself that it takes more courage to ask than it does to ache. Anybody can ache but not everybody is willing to ask. Asking for help takes courage because you are showing a vulnerability and nobody likes to show that they are vulnerable. Obviously you need to be careful who you ask and I think that is the tricky part. If you ask the wrong person, you get hurt. Simple. Finding the right person though is liberating and uplifting and you instantly feel better knowing that someone you trust is ready to listen and help if they can. This is all very lovely but something even more courageous is being the right person for someone else. Listening with a non-judgemental ear and being prepared to keep anything you hear confidential shows great strength. If someone asks you for help in any way, please be kind to them. They are showing you that they trust you. They feel that they can show you how much they are struggling and that they feel safe enough with you to share it.
Courage is something that I feel will feature quite often in my writing. Not only because it is so diverse and interesting but because it is something that I admire and strive to achieve. So until my next post about courage I hope you will acknowledge your own courage and give yourself kudos when you perform a courageous act regardless of how significant you think it was.