Often, we need courage to look within and face who we really are, to see what is inside me, to accept that and to change what is necessary. Sometimes, we do not like what is within, nevertheless, it is there and it needs to be acknowledged before it can be transformed. Due to the pressures of family, school and society we are modeled to be perfect human beings, to have perfect natures, perfect bodies, perfect behavior and live up to the perfect expectations of ourselves and other people. What takes courage is to see that on one hand, we were once perfect, but on the other hand, we are now far away from that original state. The greatest courage is to once again see that, accept that and then make the effort to become as we were in the beginning. Facing others does not take quite as much courage as facing ourselves.
Courage is that ability to understand. When we have developed the inner game of pretensions, then our relationships and activities are also filled with that falsehood and naturally, our lives become unhappy. It takes courage to see that the cause of all these situations is simply the quality of my life – the quality of my thinking, of my being and of my doing. It takes courage to take full responsibility for my own actions, for my situation, whether it is filled with happiness or sorrow.
Courage means to look beyond the constraints of my present situation, and focus on my aim in life, and move towards that. There will be a thousand people who will try to discourage me from attaining my goal, and a rare one that will encourage me, so I need to know how to encourage myself. This is courage!
Courage means to say sorry and to mean it. It takes a lot of honesty to see when I am wrong or have offended others, and then it takes courage to face them and make amends and then to carry on with self-respect. We all make mistakes, and when we are courageous we see that those mistakes are actually moving us forward to a state of understanding and growth.
The greatest courage is knowing when to say no. Often people ask us to do something, but we need to be true to our own nature, to our own sense of values. To say no when temptation comes before us takes courage. When our life is at stake or our job, reputation and income, if we are able to say no to false praise, prestige and bribes, then we have the courage that comes from integrity and honesty.