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Courage only appears in the presence of fear
One thing that makes it harder to lead a balanced life is fear. What fights fear is courage. I am not talking about Fear and Courage with capitals, but about those nagging micro-battles we fight or elude every day and that can make us feel miserable. Many of us believe we cannot be courageous because we are scared. That’s the thing with courage, one cannot be brave if he is not afraid. Courage is by definition the power or quality of dealing with fear.
Fear is just a tool, a warning system that prevents us from doing stupid or self-harmful things. It is when we lose control of that tool that we have a problem. Courage is our way of dealing with this tool. The simple truth is that everybody is afraid of something some time or other, every single day. The difference is that some people take these fears in their stride without even realizing, and others get stuck on them.
“Our lives are not shaped by our problems, but by our determination”
Of course, there are big and small fears. You do not know how you will react if mugged, but you know you cannot just stay at home because you might get mugged. You just take sensible precautions and live on. That is the point. We cannot allow fear to steer our lives. Fear is just an unpleasant counselor. We need to listen to it, and then make our own decisions. Once again, when we swallow those little fears and let them spoil our day, we are taking for granted two facts that are not true: That those fears are big and that we are small. It is actually the opposite in most cases.
Petty fears that can weigh us down, but we can get rid of them by consciously applying little doses of courage. It might seem hard, but that is just our fear talking. It is actually much easier once we get on going and start to develop the habit of taking fear in our stride. We are afraid to confront people, we are afraid of ordinary problems, we are afraid of what might go wrong… those are all petty fears we should discard. The result will be that the same situations that rendered us miserable will make us in turn more balanced, self confident and therefore happier.
It is not about being confrontational or standing one’s ground out of pride either. It is about thinking, reaching a conclusion and following the course we consider right. No more, but no less, and never in an aggressive fashion. We just defend what we believe and adapt if we are proved wrong. It is a matter of reaching the better conclusion, of doing things the best possible way, and if that means saying no, or defending a position others do not like, so be it. There are times in life we can follow, times we can lead, and times we just have to find our own way. We might be afraid of being rejected but, in the long run, defending our personal position only earns us respect.
We see people every day that complain as soon as they encounter some problem. Many see problems as things that make them miserable, while others accept them as something co-substantial to life and free will, and just go for them and find a solution. In fact, facing and solving problems makes you feel pretty good. As usual, the difference lies not in the problem, but in our predisposition. My life is not problem-free. That does not make me miserable at all. On the contrary, I lead a happy life and have no doubt I will come out clean the other side. You see, I have faced worse before, and the rare times I didn’t overcome y coped and moved on. Just like you.
The things that might go wrong
Some of us only see all sorts of trouble in every plan. These people never begin anything because they are overwhelmed by all the nefarious possibilities their imagination can devise. We cannot waste our time agonizing about problems we might encounter. We have to learn to face problems as they come, when and if they come. That does not mean we do not have to look ahead and try to foresee trouble, but we have to be sensible.
Once in a while we face a real problem, or worse, a fatality. When confronting real problems, I always tell myself the same things when I get to this point: Courage can only be shown in the face of fear. I have had similar problems before and I have always solved them. This one is not worse, it’s simply the latest. And then I get down to it and try to find a solution. It might be worse. It might be a fatality beyond solution, because life can deliver all sorts of blows, but it will always be better for us and for those who surround us if we face our problems, and help them face theirs, with courage. We will talk of sorrow some other time.
“don’t be afraid of being afraid, just don’t let fear stop you”
So, starting today, lets try to take fear for what it is, a useful, albeit unpleasant, tool we need to survive, just like pain, cold, heat or hunger. Let’s face issues when they come, not sooner, and let’s take for granted we are going to solve them and feel good afterwards. There are situations in life courage won’t fix, but there is no situation we will not face in a better position if we use a little of the courage we do have to control our fears and take problems for what they are: plain ordinary events of everyday.
Who wants an uneventful life, anyway?
About the Pictures
I shot this bug while on holidays in France, some years ago. Just a single close range shot. The Apollo poster is composed from NASA images. All texts is original, except Armstrong’s quote.
This pictures can be printed in photo paper, canvas, metal or acrylic surface from 8″ to 48″, or in greeting card format. You can check them by clicking the images above.
I am all in for customizing pictures. All of them can be retouched in many ways, texts altered, changed or deleted. Ask freely.