How Everyday Life Demands Our Courage

Goldfish leaps out of bowl to new, empty bowlFor some, just getting out of bed in the morning takes courage. Depression, for example, can be debilitating and make it difficult to get out of your head and into your daily life. For many others, most days seem easy. Many optimistic people appear to sail through their days, taking stressors in stride, remaining positive, and always holding their heads up.

Still, even seemingly happy people need courage. If not today, on some unknown day in the future something will likely pop up that requires even optimistic people to summon what is strong and fierce inside them.

It takes courage to get news that a medical scan has found something wrong, and then go back to work or making dinner as usual. It takes courage to apologize and accept responsibility for an angry outburst that hurt someone’s feelings. It takes courage to navigate a fork in the road, the point at which you make a decision that in some ways will liberate you, but in other ways could take you away from everything with which you are familiar.

It takes courage on some days just to be ourselves, let alone to show up in positive ways for others. And yet, most of us show courage in some way every single day.

Life insists that we be courageous. It’s part of our nature as humans to push through in the face of obstacles—to ask for help, take a U-turn or start over, to face bad news, to make waves, to ride them, and to eventually land on our feet. It’s what we do.Nobody ever said if you’re afraid you’re not courageous. In fact, the definitions of courage, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, are “the ability to do something that frightens one” and “strength in the face of pain or grief.” Courage, according to these definitions, is being afraid and doing what we need to do anyway.

I have a friend who recently divorced. Her ex-husband was affected by alcoholism, and his drinking interfered with intimacy and connection in their relationship for years. My friend’s children were opposed to the divorce. Both in their teens, they worried about the changes that would happen and especially feared not living with both parents. To make matters worse, my friend’s church group stepped further back to avoid taking sides. My friend had to navigate the separation, divorce, the move of households, the disruption of her children, the change in finances, and the loss of friendships on her own. She also changed churches to create a stronger community for herself and her children.

My friend tells me now she felt as though she was moving through a blizzard as it was happening—cold, dark, and bitterly painful. Three years later, she coaches her daughter’s soccer team, leads a support group for divorced moms, Mary Anne Radmacher Courage Quoteis involved again in volunteering at her children’s school, and works full time as a manager at a marketing firm. She’s one of my examples of someone who is courageous—an everyday hero, but certainly a hero.

Life insists that we be courageous. It’s part of our nature as humans to push through in the face of obstacles—to ask for help, to take a U-turn or start over, to face bad news, to make waves, to ride them, and to eventually land on our feet. It’s what we do.

If you’re struggling in the face of a life crisis, big decision, or daunting hurdle, you are courageous. Keep a tight network of trusted friends and call or text them often, eat well, get exercise, try for enough sleep, and if you need help along the road, consider contacting a mental health therapist. Talking to someone who is supportive, not judgmental, and who is trained to offer you professional advice and guidance is tremendously helpful for most of us. Sharing your vulnerable self with someone else and asking for help takes courage, too.

© Copyright 2016 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Mary Bradley, LSCSW, LCSW, therapist in Kansas City, Missouri

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Melissa

    March 9th, 2016 at 7:55 AM

    I have felt that way going through my divorce. There are some days where I am truly so down and depressed from the moment I get up til the moment I go to bed that I know that I am only going through the motions. I keep thinking that it might get a little easier but the longer it goes on the more uncertain I have become.

  • Montana

    March 9th, 2016 at 3:35 PM

    Such is life. It is all about finding the strength to move forward daily. There will always be days that are easier or harder than others.

  • garrett

    March 10th, 2016 at 10:46 AM

    Without courage to face the next challenge what else is there?
    To curl up into the fetal position and pretend that it will all go away?
    It never will if you keep running from it.

  • Kaye F

    March 11th, 2016 at 7:42 AM

    The illustration above of the fish jumping into a new bowl, you think of wow what possibilities, but that sure is a long way to jump! Don’t we all have these same kinds of thoughts when we are looking to jump to the next step?

  • Kelvin

    March 12th, 2016 at 9:02 AM

    That quote about quietly saying that I will try it again tomorrow?
    that is just as much courage as anything is, not succeeding and then vowing to try it all over again.

  • Sullivan

    March 15th, 2016 at 10:18 AM

    Well sure life demands that at times, and then there are other times when you ahev a little more freedom to be what you want to be.

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