Courage has been misplaced and labeled incorrectly. Traditionally, only facing fear under perilous circumstances is labeled courageous or persevering, withstanding danger or overcoming difficulty. Running into a burning building to save a pet, running away from a home in flames caused by a wildfire, pushing a pedestrian out of the way of a speeding car, jumping in front of a bear to divert its pursuit (of you), a soldier throwing himself on a grenade to save his squad, or tackling a robber in flight are readily accepted instances.
Split-second heroism and everyday courage are not one and the same. Courage is much more complex than spontaneous reactions to traumatic events. We “everyday people” can embrace our courage and pass it on to others. But how? You do it by inviting the original definition into your life.
Etymology of Courage
Courage originates from the Old French corage, meaning “heart and spirit.” I apply this original definition to my life. Becoming aware of the behaviors and rewards of courage I feel more empowered to be discerning and better able to respond to my inherent energy of courage. The word virtue in Latin means “energy.” Paradoxically, hiding my courage drains my energy. I know when my reservoir of courage is low or brimming over. My reservoir is full when I turn down a piece of business because it doesn’t feel like the right fit. I also know when I swallow my voice or sell my soul. I have the dignity to dare. When I constantly ask “Am I being true to who I am” I know I am applying the original definition to my life.
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