At least once in life, we will all be confronted with a situation in which we must decide to either remain silent or speak up. To stay seated or stand. To accept or reject. And I’m not talking about when they get your order wrong at a restaurant. I’m talking about the times when someone says or does something in opposition to your values. The times when we’re called to be courageous.
Courage is not being fearless. It is speaking up, standing up and rejecting despite of the fear, worry and anxiety you might feel inside. It means moving past the urge to remain silent, staying seated and accepting. Just imagine seeing someone being mistreated because of their race or ethnicity. Or overhearing a conversation where there is disrespectful chatter between men about a woman. What would you do?
It takes a courageous person to interfere. Today, we’re going to discuss reasons why people don’t interfere, and then we’ll discuss ways to feel more courageous so that we’ll know exactly what to do in a situation where we’re called to rise to the occasion.
There are three reasons why people have a hard time being courageous: one – because they’re afraid; two – because they’re more comfortable not being courageous and three – because they don’t have any values.
Some people avoid being courageous because they’re afraid. Afraid of losing their job, afraid of losing a friend, afraid of making someone upset, afraid of making a scene. If you focus only on what can go wrong in a situation, surely you’ll talk yourself out of being courageous. If you let it, fear can stop you from taking risks, going after your dreams and standing up for what is right. But, moving past that fear can open new doors of opportunity, and maybe even feel rewarding.
Sometimes not getting involved is more comfortable. Courage requires people to step outside of their comfort zone and for many, it’s easier staying inside their comfort zone. Everywhere we go, there are messages telling us to mind our own business. To stay in our own lane. That we should only be concerned with things that affect us and us only. And sometimes, that is good advice. But, there are some times when we’re called to step in. Because someone else needs us. Because it’s right.
There are people who have a hard time being courageous because there’s nothing worth being courageous for. They might think that if someone is being mistreated, that they deserved it. If someone is having a disrespectful conversation about a woman, that’s their business. Some people live life focused on themselves and will only feel the need to step in if it is something that impacts them directly. They don’t value sticking up for others. They don’t value being their brother or sister’s keeper. They’re in it for themselves and themselves only.
I am courageous
We all feel fear and discomfort when presented with situations where we’re called to demonstrate courage. But moving past those fears and feelings of discomfort puts us closer and closer to being courageous. Understanding what you’re afraid of (and why) and not letting that fear paralyze you, examining how you would handle different scenarios and standing firmly next to your values will put you past the courageous finish line.
I understand what I’m afraid of (and why) and I refuse to let that fear stop me
What are you afraid of? Failure? Rejection? These are common fears and it can be difficult moving past them. Failure and rejection can have an effect on our confidence and, worst case scenario, our livelihood. Look at it this way. If we’re fired for standing up for what is right, is that a person or company you would want to work for? Think long and deep about why failure and rejection scare you so much. You may be surprised at the logic and reasoning behind it and it may not be something worth letting hold you back. Don’t let fear stop you from taking chances, chasing your dreams, or even standing up for what is right.
I prepare myself to hande difficult scenarios
Have you ever seen that show called What Would You Do? It’s a show where actors stage difficult scenarios and a hidden camera captures how people respond. Sometimes someone steps in, and sometimes they don’t. There’s a wide variety of reasons why they don’t. While watching the show, I always think to myself what I might do if presented with a similar scenario. I encourage you to do the same. What would you say? What would you do? How would you feel? Walk through different situations and ask yourself how you would respond. It might prepare you for the off chance that you’re actually in that situation in the future.
I stand by my values no matter what
What is it that you care about? What matters most to you? Those convictions shouldn’t change no matter what and should be the reason why you might put something, like your job, friendships, comfort, on the line. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.” I love this quote because it forces us to examine what things matter to us. Once we establish that, it’s up to us to stand by those convictions in every situation no matter the consequence. We must always live life with those values close enough that they’re always with us and can be referred to when confronted with a difficult scenario.
“Stand for something or you’ll fall for anything.” That’s the old adage that continues to ring true today. This requires demonstrating courage even when we’re afraid or uncomfortable. It means understanding what we’re afraid of and deciding to not let that stop us. It means preparing for difficult situations, defining our values and standing by them no matter what. I believe that someone who does these things is a person with a courageous heart.
Here are your positive affirmations to ponder on this week:
- I am courageous.
- I am fearless.
- I am comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
- I have values and I hold them close to my heart.
- I understand what I’m afraid of (and why) and I refuse to let that fear stop me.
- I prepare myself to handle difficult scenarios.
- I stand by my values no matter what.