Little Recognitions of Courage

When I was younger — admittedly at 31 I am not that old! But when I was younger I used to attribute courage to feats of human endurance; epic adventures of will; and pushing the human boundaries of living to the limits. Those are all still very courageous things to do, I don’t think anyone would argue that climbing Everest, for example, is peak courageous behaviour, that’s why not many people have done it. However I wanted to focus on the little moments of courage that happen every day, in everyone’s life.

We’re talking about the microcosm/macrocosm here. Everything that exists in a humongous, seemingly infinite, macro state, must also exist in a micro state too. Them’s the rules, so if you don’t like them you can send a tweet to the universe to complain or something. I’m assuming the address you’d need would be the centre of the galaxy? Not my responsibility.

A picture of the black hole at the centre of our galaxy!

Strange that that looks so much like the Eye of Sauron isn’t it!

The ‘Eye of Sauron’ from Lord of the Rings.

Anyway, back to courage, I feel like the micro state of courage is often over looked in every day life. Some examples of this would be:

Helping your spouse out through their retirement — when literally their whole world has changed, and their markers for expectation have vanished. I feel that this is especially crucial for the ‘baby boomer’ generation where they were employed in long term careers and their sense of identity and confidence was so affected by their job status.

A little act of courage would be to not push that person into doing things for the sake of doing things, but to go out and find something that they love and that fulfils their passion for life. As long as they are doing something with their time then you’ve held space for them to be who they are, not to be someone who is busy for the sake of being busy.

Getting out of bed when you feel anxious — taking those long deep breaths and waiting for the anxious feelings to subside. To know that they will subside, and to be confident that they will.

This too, shall pass.

Starting your day in feelings of panic and fear is common in a transition phase, when you first wake up you’re more likely to feel these things because there’s a period of time where your Neo-Cortex — or your ‘thinking brain’, hasn’t fully engaged, so there’s only the deep emotion of your situation without the reasoning. It’s courageous to sit in these feelings to understand what they are, but to also know that they’ll pass, and that you can add your rational mind to that equation to work on processes and tools for you to cope.

Being there for your mum and dad when they need you. Not relying on those old habits of you being reliant on them for security, sometimes they’ll need things from you — even if that’s just advise, or the space to chat something through, or going out to the garden centre with them, or a bike ride. (I enjoy those things, but if you don’t then give it a go, you might be surprised how fun it is.) Whatever it is that they’re into, showing interest in that without having a personal interest in it, takes courage.

Feeling gratitude for each moment. Feeling the wind in your hair, the sun on your skin, and seeing the birds flying around you, taking in your environment.

There is so much noise and dust around us. I do mean literal noise and dust because there is a large amount of noise and dust around us in city life, but I also don’t mean literal noise and dust, I mean the noise and dust of thoughts and feelings on the past and future.

I mean things like: ‘How much is the family holiday going to cost us? What do I have to do to afford that? I wonder what Suzie thought of me yesterday when I told her I didn’t like the colour of her top, I wasn’t meaning to be rude, I just didn’t like it, I could’ve put it another way. I wish I could go back and change what I said, I feel terrible. I wonder how many calories this milkshake is that’s making me feel better, or is it? I mean, the dairy industry is…’

It takes courage to turn those things off, and just enjoy the moment you’re in. Maybe you want to get a milkshake with almond milk in it next time, but next time is not this time. Allow yourself to be happy.

Noticing those moments where the dust settles and the noise abates and there is only silence and gratitude, takes courage.

Doing what you really want to do. All of us know what it is that we really need to do, to make our souls happy. Yes, it’s not always possible to do that, but knowing what that is sometimes takes courage.

For example knowing that you’d rather stay in and have a bath, relax, and read a book than go out with friends to a bustling bar. The courage to say that out loud, and the courage to do it.

However I also mean that in the macro sense, the courage to ask yourself: ‘What is my life about? What am I here to do?’

I know many creatives that have asked this question and come up with amazingly diverse answers, it’s in you somewhere; the answer, you just need to listen and that takes courage.

There are a few examples of how courage enters our lives on a micro level, and if you — like me, resonate with any of those, then try to give yourself a pat on the back every now and again and say well done for having courage today. I could definitely improve in this area also, letting my hair down and recognising all the ways that I live my life courageously, instead of focusing on all the things that I have done which have not been so good.

Give myself the comfort of some down time with a pack of biscuits.

Whatever you do; whoever you are; you will be courageous in some aspect of your life.

What is that aspect?

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Peter Middleton

Peter Middleton

Here to serve the shift in human consciousness.

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