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What Is Courage?

By , Coto de Caza, CA

The root of the word courage comes from the latin word “cor”, meaning heart. In its earliest connotation the word courage meant something much different than most people would consider courage to be today. The original definition meant, “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”. Obviously this is not how society defines courage today, yet there is symbolism within this original definition that perfectly explains what I view courage as. Courage can look different for every single person and to fully understand courage for an individual you need to step in their shoes. However the basic means of courage is the same; to follow your heart even if it is difficult or scary to.


Doing what you think is right in your heart and acting on it is obviously difficult which is why it is so hard to be courageous one hundred percent of the time. It is easier though to commit individual acts of courage. To be courageous in an action you just need to follow your heart and do what you believe is the right choice in your heart. Often times the world will tell you that your choice is the wrong one or not good enough and to be courageous means to follow through with your decision even in the face of these outside pressures. These outside pressures will often times be yourself too. You will predict negative outcomes of your choice in your head and try to talk yourself out of following your heart and try to be logistical. This is why being courageous is such a hard thing to do but is so important. You need to follow your heart and do what you think is right, regardless of the outcome. And if the outcome happens to be bad and it turns out that someone made the wrong choice, the choice needs to be accepted so that it does not hold you back in the future actions you take. While you can judge yourself courage, you can’t say if someone else is or is not courageous without stepping in their shoes. Because courage to me means following your heart, without knowing what is going through another person’s mind and heart, you can’t say if they are courageous enough. This is something that I think society does wrong way too much. The public and people in your life constantly judge you and your decisions even though they often have no idea what is going on in your life or your head and therefore cannot determine whether or not you are being courageous.


To be courageous means to follow your heart regardless of what society or even your head is telling you to do. Being courageous is one of the hardest things in life to do. All too often people’s choices are influenced by outside sources and they do not do what they believe to be right. If you follow your heart you have to be prepared for the consequences you make and cannot let them affect your future choices in life. This is the definition of living with courage. Because courage stems from internal thoughts you also cannot judge another person’s courage or even decisions without stepping in their shoes and knowing what they are going through.






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