I used to think of courage as the brave men and women in movies who slew dragons and faced down the wicked witch until good triumphed. Somewhere along the way I realized that courage is much more than that. I liked to tell my clients that courage doesn’t mean that you aren’t afraid. We don’t have courage to eat ice cream because ice cream isn’t scary. (But, we might need courage to eat a scorpion or something weird like that.) Rather, courage means that we act on the greater goal despite feeling afraid or anxious.
As I was working on my children’s book that has a theme of courage I started thinking just how much courage we all have. If we expand the definition of courage to include pushing through hard emotions to get at a greater goal then courage is aplenty in every day family life. Every day we respond to irritating or difficult situations with love and purpose. Sometimes we even push through full on crises. I think that for the most part we rise up and do what we gotta do with the best intentions at heart. So, let’s all give each other high five’s and tell one another how courageous they are.
Here are some courageous situations I thought of. Can you add to the list?
We show courage when we choose love
We show courage when we set aside the disagreeing thoughts in our head and instead listen to and validate the feelings of our family members instead of arguing first.
We show courage when express vulnerability and talk to our spouse or children about difficult things (whether it’s a parenting discussion or expressing feelings of hurt) when it’s easier to keep our mouth shut.
We show courage when we push down grumpy thoughts, despite our severe lack of sleep, and instead tend to children with love.
We show courage when we decide to get up and go to work to provide for our family despite being bone-weary tired.
We show courage when we look past insignificant short comings that are irritating to us.
We show courage when we choose to love a family member despite disagreeing with something they are choosing.
We show courage when we discipline with love and try to help each other be better people.
We show courage when we trust our family members.
We show courage when we forgive.
We show courage with we show ourselves self-compassion
We show courage when we recognize how much we fall short, whether it’s yelling at the kids, not spending any time with a spouse lately, missing a friend’s birthday, having a severely bad hair day and bad weight year, or completely messing up on a work project and choose to love ourselves in spite of it all.
We show courage when we try to become a better family member and neighbor.
We show courage when we believe in ourselves.
We show courage when we pick ourselves up after a failure and try again.
We show courage when we notice not only shortcomings in ourselves and others but also talents and strengths and goodness.
We show courage when we let others know we just need a break and we take time to care for ourselves and refill our well with the water we need.
We show courage when we ask for help when needed.
We show courage when we make everyday sacrifices.
We show courage when we set aside our own desires of Netflix marathons or cozying up to read a favorite book and not waking up until noon the next morning and instead serve our family or neighbors. We show courage when we give help.
We show courage when we respond with compassion to those struggling with a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression. This can include ourselves.
We show courage when we believe in a family member that is not yet reaching their full potential.
We show courage when we care for a family member that needs extra support and attention.
We show courage simply by having a family and being brave enough to be married and have kids.
We show courage when we stand up for family values.
We show courage when we disagree with someone on social media, or in person, and defend what is right with understanding and respectfulness.
We show courage when we make a stand for family values and enforce family rules despite mocking from teens or the society at large.
We show courage when we create strong family boundaries to protect our family.
What other ways do you and your family members show courage? Think about it.