Courage is facing your fears

When most people think of someone who is courageous, they think of firefighters, soldiers, and other people facing extreme danger.  But courage also applies to the agoraphobe who manages to go out into public or the person afraid of spiders who must enter a shed “full” of spiders to get the lawnmower out.

Fear can be a rational or irrational.  Many people think that something that they themselves are not afraid of should not be scary to anyone.  Nearly everyone goes out in public almost every day.  Whether it’s to get groceries or go to work.  They think nothing of it.

But what about the woman down the street who was ‘mugged’ while at the city park.  Then after recovering from her injuries, was ‘assaulted’ on her way to work.  A second stroke of bad luck hits her before she had fully recovered from the first.  Admittedly this is an extreme case, not something that commonly occurs, but a true event.  Could you blame her for being afraid of people in general, or men who looked like her attackers in specific?  And if she’s afraid of people, how could she bring herself to go to a grocery store or work.

Yet, she must.  She can’t have her family do all of the running for her.  Imagine this:  She starts by having a pizza girl deliver pizza to her door, works her way up to a pizza boy.   Then starts working on the garden in her yard, so she can get used to being outside, but ducks in whenever a neighbor is seen.  Eventually, she waves to the neighbors from a distance.  Finally, with family and a good friend with her, she goes to the grocery store.  She panics, and they calm her.  One of them takes her home and the other finishes the shopping.  Eventually, she makes it through the entire shopping experience, and knows that she will be able to shop on her own one day.

Would you be willing to be the one to hold her hand while she recovered?  Knowing that she might pull away from you out of fear?  Would you give her a gentle smile and tell her it will be OK?  Or, would you look at her having a panic attack and think unkind thoughts?

She did manage to go shopping by herself after some effort, but occasionally had to leave her cart and go home.  This woman showed more courage doing her shopping than those who don’t think about the danger they are entering into.

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