Bravery has always been rewarded. When has it not? In its most basic form, it’s seen as someone going out of their normal ways to risk something. But it seems as though, the simplest meaning of bravery has been eroded away through the high-paced connectivity of our world today.
I was nine back then. I had just met this girl. She was on the same bus as me. She was sweet, but she became more like a light switch, angry or calm, on or off. There was no middle ground for me to stand on. It was one or the other. I had the misfortune of not knowing that and learned through the chaos she brought. Angelic energy radiated from her at one moment, while a closer look would bring about her fist being swung towards the unfortunate soul who got too close.
Simply stepping out of your comfort zone would’ve been deemed as brave. I tried to seek help. But for those I thought would bring me the advice I so desperately sought, brought with them rhetoric that attempted to stray me away from my problems and more towards theirs.
Another one of her hands flew towards me with rage. Some of her words too.
It didn’t hurt. It didn’t hurt because these people said my pain is not valid. These people I looked up to, the people I drew inspiration from, to see them act differently than who I thought they were, it slowly opened up a rift within me. That rift, it forced me to open my eyes to see the world as it truly was; a chaotic mess where simple acts of courage were undermined among a swarm of problems these advisors deemed as “more important”. But what if I deemed this issue as important to me?
Her relentless rage, it continued to rain down on me. But I couldn’t pretend that it didn’t hurt. It hurt myself even more to shun myself from the raw emotions that I felt so strongly every day. Everything, every little thing, would set me on edge- the emotions were reaching a fever point; I couldn’t hold it back anymore. One more became the last time she would swing her fists at me. This time I didn’t let her do it.
It felt, it felt different. To have control, it was something beyond my grasp at the time. She was startled. I was shocked. She stood there, the look of shock imprinted on her face. It only lasted a moment as she turned and ran.
The aftermath, it felt weird. The fear I felt so deeply was fading. The day just felt just a little bit brighter.
Fairy Tales dominated my bookshelves as a young child. Thus, the knight in shining archetype became ingrained within me. With the modern world in tow, all we see are the massive acts of bravery all around the world. Naivety and gullibility were at the forefront of my brain; the bar to what was considered brave kept rising to a height where reactions like mine to the girl were no longer valued. Simple, small actions of bravery go unnoticed and are undervalued. Children are quite impressionable, so with this societal mindset being pushed towards them in all directions, some may never realize the true value of bravery. This brings about a certain viewpoint towards how others are meant to behave in situations similar to mine.
Reflecting back on this, it doesn’t sound like too much, but as a younger me, a small inconvenience could make or break my day. Turning the tides and assuming an assertive role brought with it a new outlook on what bravery should be.
Once the dust had settled, I came to the realization that regardless of a person’s past, a simple act of bravery can shine a light towards a new perspective on what is considered worthy. This belief etched itself in me. I became more accepting of others when they take the courage to exit their comfort zone. Whether it be something as small as helping for help in a store to life or death decisions, I can not find any reason to put the person down, to tell them to just “get over it, it isn’t that scary”.
No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. -Aesop
So, why can’t the same be said about bravery?
As time moved forward, I drew more from this encounter. How my courage simply evolved from anger and frustration with others around me, it brought the acknowledgment that I should not let external influences be the only contributor towards my emotions. Instead, I should let myself be the main or sole carrier of the decisions I make when in regards to bravery.
Bravery should never be measured. It should’ve never been. The past can’t be altered, but the mindset of others can be. Timidity is the default for some of us, but taking that leap to stand up for your heart, your soul, your beliefs, that takes bravery and should never be qualified or quantified by society, no matter the size of the situation.
Through thick and thin, this is what I believe.