Some things are easy to understand and describe. A rose is a rose and a nose is a nose after all. However, other concepts are more difficult to interpret. Trust is one of these concepts. Understanding is another. Then again, bravery might be the most difficult word to comprehend. What makes one person brave and another not? How can the word bravery be defined?
Many people hold a common misconception about bravery. They believe that bravery is the same as being without fear. But being brave and being fearless are two different things. Many people skydive, do public speaking, ask questions, or enter relationships not because they are unafraid but because they are willing to overcome this fear. Or perhaps they are willing to go ahead despite the butterflies in their stomachs. To some, this is a foreign concept that prevents them from trying new things. However, others understand that “bravery is being terrified and doing it anyway,” as Laurell K Hamilton said. Being brave is ignoring fear for a moment and carrying on.
Bravery is also closely tied to selflessness. The book Divergent by Veronica Roth describes bravery as being the ultimate selfless action. The lead character states that “selflessness and bravery aren’t all that different.” Bravery is when you put yourself in danger to help or protect another. Mothers are brave when they give up sleep in order to comfort their child. Teachers are brave when they give up their own time to improve their teaching. Firemen are brave when they rush into a building to save someone trapped inside. Bravery is taking a risk to give something of yourself in order to make life easier for another.
Above all, bravery is instinctual. It is something that cannot really be thought through. Oftentimes, bravery is a spur-of-the-moment emotion that leaves little time to think your actions and consequences through. Brave people don’t hesitate. They can leap forward when others are still working their way through a problem. In order to be brave, one should not overthink situations. It’s an instinctive action that just happens. If you talk to someone that has just performed a brave act and ask them why they leapt into danger, their response is often “… I don’t know. I just did it.”
If there weren’t any brave people, the world would be a much different place. Perhaps it would be a sadder one, lacking in policemen and nurses. Bravery is essential for humans to work together and for the world to continue to change and grow.