Courage V Bravery

I was chatting to a friend of mine recently and she was telling me about the state of her marriage, during the conversation she said something that got me thinking, “I could never leave, I’m not brave enough”.

I questioned her about this comment and asked what does it mean to be brave? I left my marriage and I’m far from brave, I said that I thought you needed courage to leave an unhealthy marriage but you do not necessarily need to be brave.

To me being brave is a quality that you are born with, it’s facing something dangerous, painful or difficult without fear. Being brave is a strength of character that allows you to appear fearless in the face of danger. You are either brave or you are not.  It’s jumping from the highest diving board without a second thought. Brave people move forward because it’s in their DNA!

There is a quote that goes “The line between bravery and stupidity is so thin that you don’t know you’ve crossed it until your dead”.

Courage on the other hand is more than a quality of character; it is a state of mind and it comes from within, somewhere deep in our heart. A courageous person knows and feels the presence of fear, they acknowledge the consequences and make the choice to move forward despite the fear or danger. It’s a choice rather than a quality or strength of character.

The words “bravery” and “courage” are synonymous to most people, in fact in the English Thesaurus these words are paired together but the true meaning of the two words are quite different.

The root word for bravery is the Italian word “bravo”, which means “bold” but also once meant “wild, savage”.

The root word for courage, however, is “coeur” – the French word for “heart.”

So if you are like me and not a brave person, then fear not because when you find something worth fighting for – courage will appear!

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the silent voice at the end of the day that says ‘I will try again tomorrow.’”

— Mary Anne Radmacher


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