Courage vs. lack of fear

Courage is NOT the lack of fear. You know those old cartoons where one character says to the other, “Are you a man or a mouse?” and the other guy responds, “SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK”? Well, that’d be me a lot of the time. SQUEAK SQUEAK SQUEAK!!!

Some people see me doing stuff out in the world and assume I’m fearless or nearly so. Um, NO. It’s not that I’m not AFRAID … it’s just that I’ve learned that it doesn’t pay to let fear stop me from doing things that need to be done. Or saying things that need to be said.

Finally figured out that the way to increase courage is to take one small courageous action. It sounds like a catch-22 but it’s not. You just pick a small action, and it snowballs.

There are many times and situations when fear is a really appropriate emotion to be having. But fear isn’t an indicator that we should hang back from doing something. Sometimes it is that also — but not always. Not even most of the time, at least in my experience.

How about for you?

More thoughts:

In our crazy, shame-intensive, achievement-oriented consumer culture, it’s possible to feel more afraid of bouncing a check than of biospheric collapse. More afraid of being looked down on by a family member or close friend for not being “successful” than of actually being broke, going hungry, getting evicted. In short, fear degrees aren’t always linear or logical.