Courage is considered by many to be one of the most important foundations of humanity. In Medieval times it was considered one of the Four Cardinal Virtues, while modern psychologists have listed it among the key virtue. Being courageous means doing something despite the fear.
Being courageous takes forms both big and small. Making a decision to stop using chemicals, standing up to a bully, placing yourself between someone wielding a gun and other people or raising your voice for a cause to stop injustice. The act of responding to a “call to action” when people around you are adamantly against your decision is courage.
Do you have what it takes to “take a stand”? One must be present with the world at both an internal and external way often described as “mindfulness”. As a concept mindfulness can help one deal with fear more effectively whether by the use of meditation, deep breathing or visualization. Additionally one must be able to step outside of their comfort zone. While this typically causes anxiety there are ways to manage this task by starting with small steps and having a solid understanding of what your limits are in specific situations. By trusting yourself and having a firm belief in your stance, confidence will slowly be built and it will be easier with each successive step to move further into the fear. Knowing you have something to offer, a belief in self, helps one to be courageous.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American pastor, activist, humanitarian, and leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. His vision for a world of justice, peace and equality for all mankind cost him is life. It was through his courage and activism that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 was passed. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 and only four years later was gunned down by a sniper’s bullet. Dr. King epitomizes what it means to have courage and is a role-model for anyone considering taking a stance in the world.
In speaking once about how he wished to be remembered after his death, King stated: “I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major. Say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter”.
If only all of us could be so courageous the world would be a much healthier place. Can you think of one small step of courage you might take in your own life that will move you forward? Start today, the risk is worth the goal.
“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.