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As a highly prized virtue, having courage is the emotional response to fear. How does one have boldness in the face of life’s challenges?

Every day, we are forced to make decisions at every level, from the easiest to the hardest. The feelings leading up to those decisions take courage, one way or another. However, that doesn’t mean fear is out of the equation. Courageous people do feel afraid. The only thing separating them from cowardice is the choice to face everything head-on. To them, fear is an engine, not the brake that stops them from taking action.

It helps to have a good amount of fear in all that courage to keep oneself grounded and not be overconfident. After all, complacency only leads to ruin. You might have lost count of the number of times hearing the word ‘courage.’ It is a different concept from bravery, especially when you listen to it from people in your life.

How do we define courage?

The two words are often interchanged in context and meaning, but specific differences must be examined. For instance, a textbook definition of courage would have the mental and moral strength to pursue and carry on, effectively withstanding the danger, fear, and struggle.

If we were to visualize an example, courage is often the ultimate virtue that military soldiers must aspire to. The veterans had to endure years of war and turmoil, not to mention the lifetime damage to their mental and physical well-being. This book about the 3rd Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Division, written by Daniel Dewald, gives an excellent testimony to how soldiers in the past confronted their fears in times of conflict.

However, having courage is not exclusive to a soldier in battle. This also applies to everyone in daily life. It is a trait that’s not passed down many generations. Courage is a matter of personal determination and standing by one’s convictions in the face of adversaries. For example, confronting abusive behavior, whether happening to you or not, takes boldness and emotional strength.

Courage does not necessarily mean being up in arms to fight your fears. It’s choosing to do it, regardless of the outcome. Courageous people throughout history changed the trajectory of the world. Again, this doesn’t require you to be a valuable figure to make history. Appreciating that you’re alive means you’ve gained the courage to look at life on the brighter side.

What are the different types of courage?

There are different types of courage for specific people. An individual can gain another over time, and knowing them makes you wise enough to know how much courage you can muster. These are the following types of courage:

Physical Courage

It is the most known courageous trait since it involves the capacity to handle danger, pain, and fear. An example would be saving someone in trouble despite enduring wounds or physical injury. Physical courage manifests in conquering fears like heights, fire, and dangerous terrain, even if it means getting hurt. And if we were to add one more example, throwing oneself out there, the willingness to put yourself in a situation that endangers your life without letting emotions reign over you at the moment. These scenarios only confirm that you don’t have to have superhuman strength to practice physical courage.

Emotional Courage

Not everyone develops emotional courage well because it takes a different kind of strength to deal with emotionally distressing situations in life that can leave lasting scars. Confronting emotional trauma productively rather than destructively is something not everyone can do. Going through a breakup or divorce, regardless if you’re the parent or child, can hurt everyone from both sides. Losing a loved one is also devastating, and getting back up again after that is the most challenging part.

The thing with having emotional strength is it takes the longest time to gather. You are not in the middle of some warzone where you have to make quick decisions for the sake of others. When emotional courage is under development, you will experience the lowest point in your life to gain it.

Moral Courage

This world is a complex mix of everything right and wrong simultaneously coming together to make certain situations more confusing than they already are. Sometimes, they test your character and ultimately determine who you are in the eyes of others. After all, most people think that doing the right thing is uncool, risky, and almost doesn’t reap any rewards.

However, gaining it takes a particular level of understanding of the things you’ll lose along the way for the sake of standing by your beliefs and values. A few times, people notice it, but it’s safe to say some, unfortunately, don’t. In this case, your heart and conscience guide you in doing what you feel is right, even when it means you’re alone in going against everyone else’s flow.

Another honorable mentions that people can have or already did is called Spiritual courage. It takes a lot of willingness to go to the deepest parts of your soul to find the answer to the most challenging choices. One doesn’t have to be religious to have this, but it is a matter of conquering your deepest fears and not being limited by society’s beliefs.