If courage was easy to find we’d all be scared of nothing. I for one think courage is overrated. It’s particularly convenient to call anything you don’t have overrated. Lately, even though it’s overrated I’m a little lost without the courage. I am not talking about being able to jump off a thirty-foot drop, no, I’m talking about being able to just do basic stuff like face the day ahead of you. If I say something awkward I should be able to move on to the next topic. Let’s be realistic.
The funny thing is for me it’s easier to jump off a thirty-foot drop. Everyone’s fears are different. I hate when people scoff at other’s fears just because it’s not what they fear. Just because it doesn’t scare you, doesn’t mean it’s not scary for us. I don’t like it when we tell people what’s scaring us, and they always reply saying there are scarier things to be afraid of. Well, we’re not trying to see what’s scarier, are we? It’s like when someone tells you they have food poisoning, that it sucks and you reply by saying, “well but imagine if you had died.”
It’s better to say nothing when you don’t have something helpful to say. I love when I stress, some people say, “you shouldn’t stress, it won’t help.” I feel like saying, “Oh my god why didn’t I think of that? You saved my life!” Honestly, just say nothing. I know very well that I shouldn’t be scared of what scares me. I just don’t know how to overcome that fear. What worked for you may not work for me.
You should trust that the person who’s trying to face their fear has probably tried all of the internet advice out there before confiding in you that they’re scared. They’re still scared because it didn’t work. Also, you don’t need to be pressured to “solve” or “fix” it for them, if they’re telling you, it’s because they don’t expect you to. If you could fix it, they’d tell you.
Sometimes they just want you to hear them, just be there for them when they’re scared. They would have gone back and forth a hundred times before deciding to tell you because they already think they’re a burden. It’s never easy to admit that something scares you. Courage is this intangible thing that can make your life a hundred times easier.
I conquered most of the fears that I had as a child, but I found new fears. The fears too are a little more realistic, it’s not the dark or ghosts anymore, I can tell you that. The dark is now the darkness of the unforeseeable future and the ghosts are of the memories from my past. You can be the strongest person and still be scared of insects. You should know, your fear is legitimate and nobody can tell you different.
Being brave was a quality we were supposed to learn. But fears have a way of creeping up on you avoiding all your shields. There’s no logic to it, and courage is something we already have, our parents told us that. My parents did, they told me I was brave. I had no resume to prove it but apparently, I was. I thought they were lying to me. If I were brave I would not be scared of power cuts or of noises in the night. They told me a lot of baseless things like that. “You have it in you” they would say. Now I am sure I don’t.
I know very well what I am scared of and what I am not scared of. I can spot my fear from a mile away. Forcing yourself to face your fears is not courage. We’re all scared of death, so should we die to face our fears? You can’t experience every fear to know it’s not scary. Maybe it works for darkness, for people, for heights or animals, or closed spaces. But how do you remove fears from people’s hearts of losing the people they love? You can’t vouch for much, can you?
All phobias aren’t a result of conditioning that can be reversed, some are irrational and erratic. For me, I am scared of being scared because it feels horrible. I used to be scared of dogs because I was bitten by one, I was scared of the dark, so many things. I knew which ones I could get over and which ones I couldn’t.
Courage isn’t just blindly facing every fear, like running headfirst into a wall. You’ll only end up with a concussion never able to face the wall ever again. It’s about being able to walk around the wall when it’s all you can see in front of you. Courage is being able to recognise that, that wall has limits as high and wide as it is, even if it’s thick there’s something that lies beyond that wall, you don’t need to go through it, and you can go around it. That is courage.
Courage is not complicated, but it is overrated. My fears are not something I can get over in minutes. It will take time. Perhaps how you can help somebody who’s scared is to help them through that fear, like my Dad would help me avoid a street dog. You don’t need to tell that person, “It’s not scary.” Just help them past it so that they will know it’s not so hard. Maybe someday you’ll need them too when you’re scared and they will do the same for you.
Nobody gets to decide for you if your fears matter or not. And they cannot brave them for you. They can only brave them with you and we should understand that. I am scared of the possibility of bad things happening to me or the people I love no matter how low the chance of that happening may be. If something bad has to happen it will happen and you cannot prevent every bad thing from happening, you and I are not superhumans.
I am still looking for my courage. I thought I lost it, but the thing is when we do find courage we find the courage to face one fear not all of them. Courage is like a pill, you can’t swallow a pill every day in the anticipation of the next illness. You only take the pill when you’re ill. You keep the courage in a bottle, ready for your next fear. Until it gets really bad you’ll put off taking one, then when it gets unbearable you do. So yes we all have the courage we’re just not sure when we have to use it and what its side-effects are.