Am I Courageous?
There are many adjectives that we, especially as males, strive to live up to. To uphold in our daily lives. To be seen as bearing. Integrity. Strength. Wisdom. Honour. Courage. I look at these, and most are fairly straight forward. Reasonably easy to measure, to an extent. Integrity… how well one can carry out their lives in a way that is honest and fair, without putting priority on himself. Strength… physical, pretty self explanatory, but mental/emotional…? I would say how one reacts to tension. To conflict. Hardship. “When the going get’s tough, the tough get going.” Wisdom… smarts, and how to use those smarts in an intelligent manner. Honour... much like Integrity, but outward. Integrity is how you live your life, honour is publicly carrying out that integrity even when you don’t want to. But Courage... I’ve always kind of gotten hung up on courage. The dictionary defines courage as:
the ability to do something that frightens one: “she called on all her courage to face the ordeal.” • strength in the face of pain or grief: “he fought his illness with great courage.”
It’s simple enough. It’s straight forward. But to me it’s always seemed so… storybook. When I think of courage I think of medieval warriors storming the castle, powerful knights slaying the dragon, David facing Goliath. But how does that fit with the life of a 34 year old carpenter with BPD? There’s no castles being stormed. No dragon’s to slay. No Goliath’s being taken down. Or is there? How, in a non storybook world can I live my life courageously?
Courage is asking for a time out, to shed a tear, to dust yourself off, and then getting back in the ring to fight like you’ve never fought before
My wife sent me this quote, and I absolutely love it. It puts a sense of reality on the idea of courageousness. Sometimes it’s hard to be courageous. Or let me rephrase that…
Sometimes it’s hard to be courageous. I’ve faced a whole lot of challenges in my life. And I haven’t made it out of all of them unscathed. BPD… anxiety and depression, this is the most frustrating thing I’ve had to deal with. It doesn’t make sense. There’s no concrete answers. It’s working your ass off towards an unknown, in many ways. That’s hard to do. How do you stay motivated? How do you even set goals? How do you stick it out when after every step of progress it seems you are hammered with some overwhelming slump. The shut down. The recluse. So, how do you stay motivated? How do you stay the course? I’m not going to lie, therapy sucks. Medication sucks. Dissociating out of nowhere with no warning sucks. You feel defeated. You feel “what’s the point?”
But this definition of courage is different.
“Courage is asking for a time out, to shed a tear, to dust yourself off…”
The medieval warriors may have to retreat and regroup. The powerful knight may get knocked from his horse. David may miss with his stones and have to run off to collect more. The key is that these trials are not defeat. They’re not the way the story ends. They are mere setbacks. Take your time out. Shed your tears. I’ve shed many, and of every type imaginable… pain, fear, frustration, anger, anguish… you name it. It’s ok to cry, this coming from a 34 year old carpenter. Sometimes crying out is the only physical act you are capable of doing, and that’s ok. But it’s not the end. It’s not defeat. Dust yourself off… compose yourself. Wipe those tears and take a deep breath.
“and then getting back in the ring to fight like you’ve never fought before”
And the best thing about courage, it’s not a one-trick-pony. It’s not a one-time-offer. It doesn’t expire. It doesn’t matter how many times you get knocked of that horse. It doesn’t matter how many times you feel beaten down… the weight of the world feels like it’s driving you into the pavement. Those hardships ARE going to come. And trust me, they’re going to come often. You’re going to want to give up. That blade is going to come out. Life is not going to feel worth living. But call that time out. Shed those tears. Dust yourself off. Because you ARE Courageous, and you are NOT Defeated.