What Does It Mean to Be Brave?

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When bravery or courage comes to mind, you may imagine heroes such as soldiers fighting to protect their country, firefighters saving people, and nurses caring for the sick. With bravery attributed to such extraordinary people, it poses the question, “What does bravery look like for the average person?” 

Even though the courage shown by most people does not get the same kind of glory, it can be tremendously impactful. There is a quote that displays what true bravery is quite well.

Although there are many different versions of this particular quote, the Greek historian and general Thucydides was possibly the first to be credited: “The bravest are surely those who have the clearest vision of what is before them, glory and danger alike, and yet notwithstanding, go out to meet it.” 

Bravery is not a complete lack of fear or pretending that fear does not exist. True bravery is knowing the challenge in front of you and taking it on regardless. No matter who you are, you will be faced with choices that require you to be brave. It is possible that you may have to face many of these choices. Understanding what bravery is and when you have shown it can be an important step towards self-respect.

Bravery Is Not a One-Time Occurrence 

Since everyone has to make choices where you are called to be brave, inevitably you will make a choice you may not be proud of. This happens to everyone at some point. Some people may make a mistake and then allow their shame to prevent them from looking at themselves as brave. 

Making a mistake is not a failure unless you do not learn from it. It takes courage to own responsibility for a choice and to grow from it. Using your past experiences — positive and negative — you can strengthen yourself to make better choices in the future. 

A good example of this is overcoming substance use disorder (SUD). Seeking treatment for SUD takes courage. Brave and determined people seek treatment to better the lives of themselves and those around them, despite how challenging the change can be. That said, these same brave people are not any less brave if they end up experiencing a relapse

It can be argued that going through such a setback and continuing the fight towards recovery makes them even braver. A valuable page on relapse prevention can be found here. 

Recognizing What Bravery Is in Your Life 

Something that may be daunting to one person can be routine for someone else. For example, some people climb and repair 300-foot tall wind turbines as a job. For most people, climbing that high and dangling from ropes would be terrifying. That being said, if someone afraid of heights was able to overcome their fear and accomplish that, it would be impressive. Just because someone else is not fearful of something does not make another’s fear any less valid.   

Many people have overcome powerful fear and should be proud of themselves, but they do not give themselves proper credit. When putting together a concept of bravery in your life, do not compare yourself to others. 

A healthy way of thinking about bravery is to look back on challenges you overcame in your life. Do not look at these challenges through the lens of how others would feel. Instead, think about how you felt at the time. Also, think about how you felt right after the challenge was over.

Developing Bravery for the Future 

Becoming a braver person is a product of many factors, and here are a few which may help:

#2. Experience: Learning through experience is also a vital factor in bravery. Overcoming your fears can make you realize that you are stronger than you think. This realization can then make dealing with fear easier in the future. Another thing to keep in mind about your experience is learning from mistakes. Growth and reflection after making a choice are vital in becoming a stronger person in the future. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has been known to help get more out of your experiences and thoughts. 

#3. Learn from others: Looking to others who have shown bravery can be a powerful inspiration to develop your own courage. This can be through books, movies, documentaries, or even just meeting people in person. It is also important, however, not to let someone’s accomplishments discourage you. Do not feel like you have to live up to what someone else did; keep in mind that if someone else was able to achieve what they set their mind to, so can you. Comparing yourself to who you were, not who others are today, is important. 

Bravery is something we all aspire to have in life, although we seldom speak on what develops it. At times, it feels like it might just be something that happens or a trait that someone was born with. Bravery is a trait that can be learned through experience and trained. By recognizing how strong we truly are, we can begin to grow that bravery bit by bit over time. One of the biggest challenges that require bravery is overcoming substance use disorder. Being brave doesn’t mean doing everything yourself; sometimes it means reaching out for help. If you or a loved one are seeking treatment, Everlast Recovery Centers is here to help. Our caring staff understands the bravery it takes to seek treatment and is prepared to give you the best chances of success. To learn more about what we can do for you, call us today at (866) 338-6925.

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