Posts Tagged ‘courage’

From Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary:

: mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty

From Our Own Druidry (82)

The ability to act appropriately in the face of danger.

Courage, as a religious virtue, I see as being tied up in the idiom to have the “courage of one’s convictions” – to stick to your beliefs in the face of criticism. This is a big deal for modern Neopagans, who often face disapproval for their beliefs, and can (in some places) face active discrimination for them. But courage isn’t just sticking up for your beliefs in an outward way, when antagonized or questioned by others. It’s also having the strength to live up to what you say you’ll do. It takes courage to keep promises to yourself and your Gods. Danger can be seen in a number of ways, from outward dangers presented by others to the inward dangers of self-sabotage. It means standing up to your fear of success as much as your fear of failure. I absolutely hate the platitude “feel the fear and do it anyway”, but I think it’s an appropriate definition of courage.

As someone who lives with chronic anxiety and PTSD, I am well acquainted with fear – both rational and irrational. Courage, to me, is knowing that fear is a feeling. Danger may be real, but fear is a feeling, or a thought – and feelings and thoughts can be challenged and changed. The courageous act is the best one you can make in the circumstances, and it is courageous afterward to forgive yourself for what you couldn’t do in the moment.

This is a virtue well worth cultivating, even if we are not frequently faced with mortal danger in our daily lives. Perhaps courage can be summoned as we deal with the stresses of modern life, standing up for ourselves and what we need and believe in, even if we’re not likely to get eaten by a bear.

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