Thanks to all the Hollywood films and macho movie stars we now have a vivid portrayal of what true courage looks like. Only that it’s not quite accurate, as well as it doesn’t paint a full picture of what being courageous really is.
Courage is defined as the inner strength needed to take action, against a palpable or imagined risk that creates a state of fear, with the purpose of overcoming it.
There is more than one single type of courage, and despite the fact that the physical one exhibited in the movies is the first that comes to mind when talking of this subject, there are different others, that need mentioning.
Types of courageOrder now
Where bravery is concerned, more than one thesis has tried to accurately exemplify what type of courage would be associated with various fear defiant actions. For example, speaking out against injustice isn’t in the same category as the physical notion of it.
Despite finding in English Oxford Dictionary only two main classes that comprise every way of being courageous, we managed to detail it in six slightly different categories.
- Physical courage is the bravery to face a situation with calm, even while risking harm or even death. As mentioned above, physical courage is the one that most people imagine at the first thought. The often repeated narrative of awe-striking actions that people have accomplished during stressful situations, disregarding their own safety has transformed many into local heroes. This category is the most popular as everyone dreams of being a hero.
- Completely different from the physical kind, we find moral courage. This is centered on respecting one’s values and principles and focuses on speaking out against injustice. The risk, in this case, is of facing opposition on different degrees, going from the disapproval of others, to public shaming or even social banning.
- Deriving of the previous one comes to the social type of bravery. This means confronting one of human’s greatest fear, overtopping even the fear of death. And that is the fear of being publicly shamed. Seeing how we are genetically predisposed to be a social being, public shaming becomes something that repulses us on a cellular level. It’s one of the most common anguish and not being able to overcome it can transform it in more complex issues, ranging from stage fright to agoraphobia.
- Emotional courage comes right up, and we’ve all surely experienced it. Opening up to someone, despite the fear of rejection constantly nagging us in the back of our heads. It’s mainly associated with happiness and seems to be a stepping stone towards the development of intimacy.
- Without ever being considered worthy of the title, intellectual courage can be one of the hardest kinds to achieve. It basically requires admitting you’ve made a mistake. Being able to challenge your thinking and to submit to logical arguments, despite trying to protect your ego. The same is to be said of taking risks on an innovative idea while failing is a high rate probability. Therefore, it’s associated with investment and business judgment, inventions and innovations and high-stakes decisions.
- Sometimes encountered in the moral category, spiritual courage can stand out as a separate type. Although its main drive is speaking out against injustice, this feeling comes from defending personal beliefs of the sacred kind, religious and spiritual alike. It can also mean questioning your faith and life purpose either from a religious point of view or a more practical oriented one.
Bravery on a daily basis
Being courageous does wonder for one’s self-esteem and acknowledging that people break their self-imposed barriers each and every day, helps them evolve.
- Fending off bullies to protect yourself, your loved ones or a complete stranger
- Fighting off any form of racism or any kind of prejudice, even if it’s a verbal manifestation or a more brutal one
- Getting out of your comfort zone, trying new experiences that could vary from tasting new food to sky-gliding
- Speaking out in public, holding a speech in front of strangers, even making a work-related presentation in front of your colleagues
- Asking your crush on a date, or on the contrary, cutting ties in a relationship that has become bad for you, even if it’s amorous or just an acquaintance with a bad influence
- Leaving your steady job to follow a less sure dream job or pursue a risky financial investment that you believe in
- Having an open, calm discussion with a person whose views on your faith are radically different than yours
Although there are many adjectives for courage, besides heroism and valor which we’ve already discussed above, another less fathomed one can be found. And that is recklessness. Because while it might be a trait, everybody is looking for, courage can fall in an unwanted extreme, where precautions are cast aside, and it no longer feels like an admirable quality.
You have the inner force to overcome your fears, and even though it might not be the kind of action that gets applauses all-around, it surely is a personal victory that you need to cherish.