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Showing posts with label brave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brave. Show all posts

Saturday, July 8, 2017

I Want To See You Be Brave: Foolish courage versus legitimate bravery.

Due to a just completed Washington, D.C. trip, I took a bit over a week away from my blog. However, given that part of my D.C. trip consisted of visiting heroes of the American Revolution as well as those who died in the service of our country, I think the topic matter of bravery is appropriate at this time.

Anyway, I think that I like most people, have some areas of life in which I'm brave in and some areas in which I am not so brave in.  I can be very brave in tolerating pain, but I've been known to avoid making necessary calls to deal with a creditor.  Sometimes, my bravery (or lack thereof) will be based on whom I'm having to deal with.  Sometimes, however it can be dependent on how I am feeling at the moment--anxious, carefree, etc...

I thought I'd take the opportunity to make a few observations on bravery, specifically when it is legitimate and when it is what I call 'foolish courage'.  I tend to be a realist by nature, so I don't expect 100% agreement on my take from someone who is more of a dream, but I digress.  Below are some examples.

Legitimate Bravery 
  • Handling an illness, especially where pain or discomfort is involved, with grace and dignity.
  • Facing (legitimate) and certain discipline without complaining, making excuses or trying to justify the actions or behavior which led to it.
  • Facing an unexpected loss (personal or financial) and focusing on what needs to be done rather than being paralyzed
    • Making burial arrangements
    • Making payment arrangements when unexpected expenses show up.
  • Risking your own safety and health to protect others
    • Fighting fires as a fireman
    • Protecting lives as a police officer, especially in dangerous situations.
    • Stepping up and protecting loved ones (or strangers) when threatened
  • Saying no to peer pressure especially where there is a high risk of being berated or worse.
  • Standing up for your beliefs when there is a cost to it.

Foolish Courage
  • Building up the 'courage' to do something reckless, stupid or wrong.
    • Drag racing or a reckless stunt where you aren't trained at either in an attempt to prove how 'brave' you are.
    • Purposely confronting and being antagonistic toward an aggressive person or group.
    • Seeking to get illegal drugs or in illicit behavior where there is a high cost to getting 'caught'.
  • Trying to do a dangerous task by yourself, when you have readily available help.
  • Not avoiding a troubled area of town just to show how 'brave' you are, when there is a perfectly legitimate alternative route.
  • Taking on an assignment which you are hopelessly unqualified and will likely fail rather than taking on a challenging but more realistic task, especially where the motivation is greed or to prove something.

Sometimes it is clear whether one is engaging what I call 'foolish courage' or 'legitimate bravery' and sometimes the lines are blurred.  Sometimes, I believe the two can overlap.  For example, when you try to rescue someone you clearly aren't qualified or able to and put your own life in danger.  On the one hand that is brave, but on the other hand that can be foolish.  For me the biggest determining factor is what is the individual's motivation.  That is, is he or she being 'brave' because it is the right thing to do, or because it is designed to gain them validation or fill a selfish desire. If the behavior is done because it is the right thing to do, it is more likely to be done with legitimate bravery.  If it is because of wrong or faulty motivation, it is likely done with foolish courage.

A good way to wrap this blog up is by asking a few questions when considering whether you are being brave or being foolish (some of which I have already alluded to):
  • Are your actions based on the need for validation?
  • Are your actions based on seeking some selfish gain?
  • Are your actions putting your own interests over that of another?
  • Are your actions based on desiring to the the right thing? And do you think about them or just do them/
  • If your actions have mixed motivations, would you engage in the 'brave' behavior if there was no chance of gain or validation for you out of it.  
    • If only your Higher Power (God) knew of your good deed, would you still do it?
    • Or do you feel the need to have your good deed noticed?
  • Are your actions based on trying to satisfy an addictive 'need'?
  • Is there a safer (and effective) way to accomplish what you are considering doing?
  • Has the opportunity to be 'brave' presented itself or is it something that is being forced?  

In many cases, it is clear to all whether we are engaging in foolish courage or actual bravery.  However, in many cases, only we and our Higher Power (God) truly know.  In those situations, if we are honest with ourselves, I believe we will know the difference.  My takeaway: There will always opportunities to be brave should you desire to do so.  When the opportunity appears to present itself, put your motivations second and see if it is the right time to be brave or if you are likely just going to engage in 'foolish courage'.  I believe at those times we know in our heart what is the right thing to do and if we don't get in our own way will do it.

Just some thoughts...

    Thursday, June 1, 2017

    Knowing what you know and not being afraid to say it.

    One of my 'favorite' sayings is that "I don't take any joy in being right".  Usually I say that when I express what I consider to be a hard truth.  That is something I would almost prefer to be proven wrong on.  

    I once expressed concern for a friend to a common friend of ours.  I was worried about my friend's struggles and the next day I came to find that she had died not more than a couple hours after I had expressed my concern.  Needless to say that threw me for a loop.  I wasn't trying to be prophetic, but unfortunately, as I like to say, "I saw a disturbance in The Force" regarding her.  Suffice to say I struggled with that prophetic point for a while.  But, I digress.

    I think sometimes we have a truth so obvious to us that it is literally imploring us to grasp it.  It could be:
    • Time to trade in or buy another car (as our current car is living on borrowed time).
    • A friend or loved one who used to used to seek you out or be open to talking seems to avoid you at all costs (as if to say they are distancing themselves before dumping you).
    • A loved one suddenly becomes disinterested in everything and starts giving away what some of their prized possessions (as if to say, I may not be around much longer, but I wanted to make sure you get this item).
    • Or one of countless other scenarios.
    Usually, truths like that are easy to 'see' even by the most detached observer.  In situations like that you can only miss the truth if you really don't want to accept it.  But, I digress.  Often times, a truth is a bit more subtle and there is a possibility that you could be reading it wrong, but experience has taught you otherwise.  In this case, you have a choice what to do with the truth (as you see it) in terms of expressing it.


    So, what do you do?
    1. Risk conflict or even a friendship or relationship by putting it out there?
    2. Say, "Well it's not my problem."--even if you do have a role to play-- "I'm not going to get in the middle of a situation or risk grief for being honest or blunt." and not say anything?
    3. Realize that not everyone is open to the truth and it likely will fall on deaf ears anyway?  That is some things have to be learned the hard way.
    4. Realize that a situation really may not be your business and even though you'd love to help as you see the situation clearly, it really isn't your place to step in.

    When we want to 'help', we have to make sure we aren't crossing the line of inappropriate, like in situation 4.   We have to be careful when we do have a role in intervening and giving our input, that we aren't coping out by falsely or incorrectly treating the situation like it is a situation 3 type.  That is to say, we rationalize not intervening by declaring the situation as hopeless ahead of time when it may not be so.  Working a situation in a situation 2 way, may be the cowardly way of handling avoiding saying what you need to.  But, it also might be a quite rationale approach if you've gotten burnt trying to help before.  To be fair though, it is possible that you aren't equipped at given point to face the possibility of blow-back from putting the 'truth' out there.  In this case, for your own safety, you may decide not to intervene and instead effectively take the approach in situation 2.  This leaves us with situation 1.  In some ways, putting the 'truth' out there can be both the most courageous thing you can do AND the most freeing thing you can do as well.  When you see a situation or problem for what it is, it may eat at us until say our peace.

    When you realize an important truth about a situation, it is important to recognize the situation or circumstance for what they are.  Doing so effectively can guide you what to do with that truth.  I guess in this life, the important thing to do is be willing to express your truth.  That is to say be brave enough to express the truth about a situation (even if it is a truth to yourself).   The circumstance may not rise to the level of having to express that truth, but at least you will be prepared if and when it is time to express it.

    Just some thoughts...