Courage is one of those things that everyone tries to understand, but that nobody really gets. When most people talk about courage, what they really mean is "fearlessness." The two concepts couldn't be more different.
Children are taught that having courage means being fearless. Courage is "ignoring your fear and standing up to danger, no matter how scared you are." In other words, kids are taught to be Tigger. Brave kids aren't afraid of anything, and kids who show fear are weak. Sound familiar?
When I was depressed, I was terrified of a lot of things, especially anything to do with other people. I hated going to parties where I didn't know anyone; and don't even talk to me about public speaking.
I responded to this fear by doing what I had been taught. I ignored it. I figured that I was being irrational and that I had to get over my fears, just like everyone else did. But it didn't work. The more I tried to control my fears, the more they seemed to control me. I wasn't brave at all; I was a weakling, a coward.
It doesn't have to be this way. I found someone who taught me how to find real courage. Someone who I never suspected of being brave. I found Winnie the Pooh.
"It is hard to be brave, when you're only a Very Small Animal." - Piglet
Now, Winnie the Pooh isn't anyone's idea of a hero. He's scared of everything! He is the exact opposite of the types of heroes we are taught to look up to as kids. But he holds the true secret of courage. Here it is:
Being scared is ok, because we are all Very Small Animals.
Doesn't sound like much, does it? But that's the secret of courage. Here's what I mean:
There is no such thing as a fearless person. It is all a big lie. There is not a person on this planet who isn't afraid of something. Truly brave people, like firemen who rush into burning buildings to rescue people, are scared to death when they face their fears. But yet they go ahead and do the things that most frighten them. That is...
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