On Courage

3 min readAug 7, 2022


Photo by Meg G on Unsplash

It starts with the willingness to dissent.
To be able to disagree, to oppose, to not go along with something you do not favor.
It is a quality to be nurtured. It needs to be exercised because otherwise it shrinks and atrophies. And to allow that is to allow for our gradual devaluing. In our eyes and in the eyes of others.
You can be born with that precious quality or work to acquire it.
Having it makes life immensely satisfying for you have an essential tool to shape your life.
There are different kinds of courage. Physical, intellectual, emotional.
A physically strong person may be able to assert themselves in a physical confrontation but not so in an intellectual or emotional one, while an intellectually or emotionally strong person may not stand up for themselves satisfactorily in a physical confrontation.
But what sits at the center of courage? What feeds it?
Four things come to mind:
A willingness to set limits, to say, ‘I have before me the option of this or that but at this stage of my knowledge I set my limits here.’
The willingness to take the initiative on matters leading to our betterment, personal or professional.
The willingness to trust our intuition.
And the steady exercise of all the above.
Courage’s ever present companion is risk. Without risk there is no courage. They go hand in hand.
Courage can be built, if there is the desire. And it is most desirable for it makes life richer and fruitful.
Courage can be public or private.
Every one of us, in our personal lives, is always being asked by life’s circumstances to exercise a measure of courage. Everyday life presents to us a challenge.
Most of those demands are for private displays of courage. Sometimes, though, they are public.
If we have been thinking and acting on the matter, then we’ll be in a better position to meet the challenge.
And if we don’t, then we should learn from it, thus preparing for the next occasion which, unless we’re hiding under a rock, is sure to come our way.
Life is unsparing in that sense. It loves to test us. To incessantly ask us, ‘are you learning from what I bring you every day, or are you sleep walking through it?’ Pay attention.
Lives are better lived when there is courage. Of course, as in anything involving courage and risk, there is no guarantee of results. Every day could be our last one. But such is life.
A word about group or national courage.
Today we are witnessing a special moment. Ukraine has chosen to stand up against Putin’s aggression. It is a remarkable time in history. Thousands of men and women have lost their lives in defense of their land and their right to choose their destiny. Russians and others that stand with Putin, notably China, should be ashamed of their stance.
The rest of us should not forget this.
Political leaderships that silence dissent are a threat to all of us, even to those thousands of miles away.
And just like Russians and Chinese gave in to their leaders, we should be on guard that it doesn’t happen in our land.

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Writer and psychiatrist. Writing is thinking -> integrating -> connecting -> enhancing our being. Though we can think without writing.