Life Requires Courage and Inner Strength
Strong is not someone with huge muscles. True strength resides in the soul of someone who faces adversity and does not run away, who leaves behind pain once it has passed. Life is hard. Life requires courage of the wise creatures who manage to conquer the territory of fear.
Just as our intuition tells us, fear and courage form a particular kind of binary. Every act of courage involves defying a fear. Because of this, the paralyzing anguish which is governed by the amygdala, our primitive mind hidden deep within the brain, can unleash wonderful strategies. Resilience is nurtured by its own nemesis: fear.
“The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth.”
Dr. Stanley Jack Rachman, professor at the University of British Columbia in Canada, is one of the foremost experts in anxiety disorders. In his book Fear and Courage, he explains to us that courage, in reality, is a mental quality. We all have it, even if it is not obvious at first.
Nevertheless, we can’t always activate the internal mechanism that governs courage. Deep within ourselves, we may hear a voice whisper “do it, you have to continue moving forward.”
We will explain to you how to do it.
Life requires courage but fear is our faithful companion
Most of us go through part of our life clothed in a false illusion. No one is truly prepared for adversity, in fact, until we arrive at it we may not even believe it exists. We may believe that adversity, danger, and threats exist only on TV. Perhaps we see them in wars that are not ours, far off pain that we can empathize with for a moment and then forget.
This type of self-deception is just a defense mechanism. Even so, when we finally lose our balance and live shows its threatening side, our brain reacts. Fear corners us. Fear is the most powerful survival mechanism we have. This is true for one simple reason: fear puts us on the alert in order to react when faced with a threat. This is how we survive.
Now, far from managing fear, we make a faithful friend of it. We refuse to do anything without it. We give it so much power that we lose our own willpower. Gradually we give way to anxiety, the anguish of “what will happen” and, worse, to “everything that is going to happen is going to be worse.”
It is important to keep a few things clear. Courage does not imply absence of fear. Courage is continuing even in the face of fear. In fact, the only times we are truly brave is when fear has encircled our heart, trying to prevent us from moving forward.
Courage, or how to awaken our inner lion
Remember the cowardly lion in Lyman Frank’s Wizard of Oz? He, like the others, went to ask the wizard for one wish. He wished to be brave. In a way, he represents all of us.
“The brave man is not one who has no fears, he is one who triumphs over his fears.”
Many of us are also cowardly lions. We are programmed to face adversity because that is what our species has always done. However, sometimes we need to awaken this programming. In the end, we are born as survivors in an eternally threatening environment, who have forgotten what they are capable of.
In order to remember, we propose that you reflect on the following strategies.
Five pillars of courage
When we talk about courage or strength, almost automatically we visualize someone with an imposing presence and threatening gaze. However, if we think harder, the real brave ones in our history and modern society were and are normal people. Think of Nelson Mandela, Ann Frank, or perhaps someone in your own family. We admire them all for their courage.
Let’s look at which traits define them.
- If you have to do something that makes you afraid, do it while afraid. This is the basic principle that the bravest people have integrated into their hearts and minds.
- A courageous person listens to their intuition and acts in a concrete manner: with patience, drive, and determination.
- A brave heart knows that life happens beyond the line of fear. Courage demands that we conquer new frontiers.
- Until the day we prove it, we will not be sure of our bravery. Until then, we should not be ashamed of our tears, they are a way of relieving tension.
- Anger sometimes acts as a prelude to bravery. When we see injustices, the mind pushes us through anger to action. It encourages us to leave our comfort zone.
In conclusion, we know that life is very difficult at times. No one chooses their own suffering. However, what we can choose is how we confront these difficulties: with COURAGE.