Friday, February 13, 2009

Courage and fearlessness are not the same

"...courage and fearlessness are not the same - in fact, if we didn't have fears, we wouldn't need courage. Courage implies moving through fear."
~ Sally Kempton

Reading this really did cause me to stop and think. Images of courage often bring to mind big strong people, drill sargeants and people who are fighting cancer. But I imagine that even they have fear. We may not always see the fear in others but that does not mean they are unafraid.

So what is courage? I love the statement above "Courage implies moving through fear." It means we have fear, we acknowledge it and we keep moving on. Maybe it means we unearth the root of the fear and make whatever we are fearful of less scary. If you are scared of speaking in public, you practice with a friend, then go to Toastmasters or take a class. You keep practicing and the more you learn and experience, the fear diminishes.

Maybe we don't know the depths of our own courage. We fear things because we've never had to face them. Then we are forced to face them and realize they aren't really that scary. Or we realize that we have the strength and power and fortitude to endure. That we are bigger and braver than we ever imagined.

For each of us it is different. For me, doing a marathon is scary. For others it is exhilarating. I find speaking in front of people exciting and fun. For you it may be terrifying. It's up to each of us to explore these fears, to find out what is really behind it and to move through it.

By the way, my marathon is September 19. Wish me luck!

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