June 24 – Courage

Courage is the ability to find a silver lining in any situation. It is not to be confused with denial of the negative, however, for courage is not that. She who is courageous accepts the negative in life while still being able to witness and savor every drop of good that life has to offer. There is good and bad in every situation we come across in life. To focus only on the bad causes us to feel badly. If we choose instead to focus on the good, we will in turn feel good. It takes a courageous person to choose to see the good in everyone and everything.

wave rushing to the beach

On the topic of courage, Anne Wilson Schaef writes:

“Courage is not just seeing things as they are, which is vastly important, corsage is accepting reality with the ingenuity to continue to see and experience the many good things that happen to us.

I remember in graduate school I acquired the nickname ‘Pollyanna,’ because I always could see something interesting and exciting in everything that happened. I did not always like those grueling reports and seemingly sadistic examinations and yet, when I was honest with myself, I always had to admit that I had learned something when I finished. Because of the nickname and the subtle judgmentalism attached to it, I began to question myself. After some reflection, I realized that a pollyanna was someone who denied the negative and only saw the positive. I did not do that. I saw and accepted the negative and delighted in whatever positive there was. As a consequence, graduate school was not difficult for me. Working has not been hard for me either.”

So much of our experience is tied up in our perception. Thoughts become our reality. If we think life is hard, if we focus on the difficulties and setbacks we face, the hurts we experience, and the ways in which people have wronged us… our life becomes hard and painful to endure. If on the other hand we think life is a joy, we focus on the joys and comforts, the love we experience, the things that go right for us, and the people who make our lives a little better along the way… our life becomes filled to the brim with goodness. Every day becomes a gift, a new opportunity to discover some small delight in the world. It is not easy to have this outlook. To seek out the positive in every experience, courage is required.

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