Redefining Courage, Redefining You

It used to be about facing fears. We called it courage when we saw someone achieve the impossible. It always seems a lofty idea with an almost utopian quality that we cannot see ourselves imbibe. Since we decided it to be an entity or a way of being so far from us, we never dared to call ourselves courageous. It’s something so subtle in us that we easily miss it.

What if for the sake of this conversation, we simplified it, broke it down and made it accessible? To you, to me, to everyone on the planet. Courage has a variable definition. For a person with acute depression, courage is their ability to get out of bed one morning. To an alcoholic recovering, it is saying no to a drink at a party when everyone is drinking. To a severely abused spouse, is it packing their bags and leaving? To a divorced or widowed person, it is them stepping out on a date for the first-time years. Courage is one’s ability to say no to something that you allowed for the longest time to define you.

We don’t allow ourselves to see how courage lies in the tiniest of things as well as the really big ones. Wherever we step into taking action based on what we actually need to do, that is for the good of our beings, that nourishes our soul, that brings us lightness and relief even though in our heads there is a story of what we will miss, what we think we want, where we are probably having that thing that everyone else wants but we don’t actually want it…but we do because others seem to want what we have, when it dawns on us that this thing or this situation or person is taking us farther away from ourselves, is our defining moment of courage. Courage isn’t a thought. It is pure action. It is a choice moment. It comes from a strong sense of self-preservation, that moment you realize YOU EXIST, YOUR NEEDS EXIST, YOUR DESIRES EXISTand other people and their expectations peel away to reveal their irrelevance in your life.

Courage is asking for what you need, above the needs and expectations of others.

A dear friend recently shared that he never saw himself as courageous. When someone told him that he was courageous to move past a drug habit and a heartbreak and move countries and start afresh with no guarantees, that that was courage. He redefined himself when he chose something that he would have allowed to cage him earlier. Funny thing though. He didn’t see it at all. But he did cry when he was called it.

Don’t create massive issues that you have to move through to know you are it. Even you, willing to be born on this planet with conflict, war, hunger, poverty, misery, and suffering, is courage. To then come here with a heart filled with love, compassion and caring is even more courageous. To spread it around to everyone you know, every day is massive courage!

Courage is:

  • Waking up every morning in spite of how the previous day was.
  • Trusting your intuition vs that of others.
  • For anything.
  • Willingness to be non-judgmental
  • Compassion
  • Not settling for anything or anyone less than.
  • Walking away from a situation that no longer serves you.
  • Every time you forgive someone.
  • To follow your calling at work or changing your career midway to pursue what you love.
  • To start taking care of your body at whatever age
  • Setting a deadline for your goals and getting even halfway there
  • Leaving an unhappy relationship even when you have kids
  • Moving cities or countries to start a new life
  • Not letting money, people, disability, mental illness, pain, suffering, addiction to stop you from achieving your dreams
  • Starting work after years of a break
  • Starting a new business that excites your soul
  • Philanthropy
  • Willingness to find love after heartbreaks
  • Breaking stereotypes
  • Going beyond bias
  • These exist in everyday people. The ones that don’t get talked about or acknowledged. Am sure many of you have done most of this. Some of these are subtle, others are life-changing ones. Every time you choose courage, you have just redefined yourself. In a much greater way, whether anyone else sees it or not.
  • Courage is present everywhere you look.
  • Especially in the mirror.


Aditi Nirvaan

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