What qualifies as bravery? Is it doing something even though you don’t feel safe? Is it acting even in a situation that is uncomfortable? Is it putting yourself in danger for others? Where does bravery come from?
Bravery, for me, has been going into to save the day. It’s been performing super-human acts for the applause of others. It’s been pushing to my last breathe, forcing myself to rise again even if I want to collapse. I think this is the bravery that we’re all familiar with, that we imagine when we think of brave. This is a bravery that stands up, baring teeth, filling up as much room as possible.
Many of the definitions about bravery are based on and around enduring pain. We call people brave when they endure difficult relationships or friendships or sicknesses or circumstances. We’re taught that the more pain something causes you, the more you’ve grown and the more brave you are. We even honor those who intentionally put themselves in danger. We call them brave.
But I think there’s a different bravery; a bravery that chooses to accept our human limitations, that sees, accepts and acknowledges the edge of our humanity.
But I think there’s a different bravery; a bravery that chooses to accept our human limitations, that sees, accepts and acknowledges the edge of our humanity. This bravery isn’t lauded. It isn’t praised or given space to be. It’s a ‘lesser’ form of bravery, but it is bravery nonetheless. This is a bravery that chooses to meet with weakness, with brokenness and embrace them with open arms. This bravery is firm, endearing and tender. It’s a gentle bravery that doesn’t need the lights and smoke and stage and audience to be. It’s motivation is inward.
Sometimes, bravery is choosing to opt out of a conversation. Bravery is letting yourself be fully, completely human. It’s letting the world or yourself fall apart around you and not feeling or giving into the pressure to put things back together. This is a bravery that I’m not very acquainted with.
The journey toward vulnerability requires bravery, but it doesn’t require bravery that is endless. It requires a present, human vulnerability.
The journey toward vulnerability requires bravery, but it doesn’t require bravery that is endless. It requires a present, human vulnerability. It takes what you give and transforms it into something more, better, greater. It requires an ability to step outside of fear and into the open, exposed. And it’s always worth it.
Ugochuckwu Unigwe is a writer from Atlanta, GA. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @ayyebruhham.