William Tecumseh Sherman (a general in the American Civil War, among other things), described courage as “a perfect sensibility of the measure of danger, and a mental willingness to endure it.” I think that’s a good, if slightly narrow definition, as it takes courage to face hardship, humiliation and pain just as much as danger. Either way, it’s a quality vital to the chronically ill. It takes courage to live every day with discomfort and sickness. That’s why it was my theme for February. Below are all the quotes I’ve written in my journal this month. My journal also helpfully inserted on of it’s own: “Life shrinks or expands in proportion with one’s courage” – Anais Nin.
I chose courage as the theme for February because I think we really start to need it now. The first rush of hope that comes with the new year has faded and we are faced with the reality of life going on, as it does. It can be a painful come-down from January, and I find myself needing a little bit of courage to push through it.
As with January and its theme of “hope“, I’ve tried for a range of quotes that capture a lot of different aspects of courage – what it means, how you get it, what it does, why it is important, and what things require it.
If you are wondering why the picture for this article is a handsome little black and white mouse on a luxurious red mouse-sofa, it is because that is my dear departed mouselet Napoleon, whose namesake was, whilst unfortunately French, undeniably brave. My little mousey Napoleon was also extremely brave, and though trying to take on my rats (at least ten times his size, in one case) was a perfectly reasonable move. He never actually managed to get them, and instead lived a life of luxury, got quite chubby, and died at the ripe old age of two and a half. He was adorable and I loved him.
- “Courage is rightly esteemed the first of human qualities…because it is the quality which guarantees all others.” – Winston Churchill
- “It requires more courage to suffer than to die.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
- “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” – Lao Tzu
- “Success is not final, fear is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
- “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.'” – Eleanor Roosevelt
- “Courage, sacrifice, determination, commitment, toughness, heart, talent, guts. That’s what little girls are made of.” – Bethany Hamilton
- “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.” – Bruce Lee
- “We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara de Angelis
- “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what is takes to sit down and listen.” – Winston Churchill
- “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – e e cummings
- “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr
- “Efforts and courage are not enough with purpose and direction.” – John F Kennedy
- “Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway
- “The greatest test of courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart.” – Robert Green Ingersoll
- “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T. S. Eliot
- “One isn’t necessarily born with courage, but one is born with potential. Without courage, we cannot practice any other virtue with consistency. We can’t be kind, true, merciful, generous or honest.” – Maya Angelou
- “Have the courage to say no. Have the courage to face the truth. Do the right thing because it is right. These are the magic keys to living your life with integrity.” – W. Clement Stone
- “From caring comes courage.” – Lao Tzu
- “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.” – Billy Graham
- “The truth is: belonging starts with self-acceptance. Your level of belonging, in fact, can never be greater than your level of self-acceptance, because believing that you’re enough is what gives you the courage to be authentic, vulnerable and imperfect.” – Brene Brown
- “It took me realising that a broken heart has never actually killed anyone to find the courage to ask for what I want, in just about ever situation. That was part of my own growing up.” – Ginnifer Goodwin
- “Courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.” – C. S. Lewis
- “Amongst the qualities a hero should have, I would include determination, loyalty, courage, perseverance, patience, focus, intrepidity, and selflessness.” – Ricky Martin
- “I believe that my worth is not measured by what I do, by the honours that are bestowed upon me, or by material wealth that I might obtain. Instead, I am measured by the courage I show while standing for my beliefs, by the dedication I exhibit to ensure my word is good, and the resolve I undertake to establish my actions and deeds as honourable.” – Burgess Owens
- “Courageous people do not fear forgiving, for the sake of peace.” – Nelson Mandela
- “Daring to set boundaries is about having the courage to love ourselves, even when we risk disappointing others.” – Brene Brown
- “God grant me the courage not to give up what I think is right even though I think it is hopeless.” – Chester W. Nimitz
- “Have courage and be kind.” – Cinderella
The hardest part about this list is keeping it to just 28. There are so many things to be said on this theme. Do you have a favourite?
Stay brave, my friends. Come back next month for March’s theme: kindness.