Depictions of Courage

Helen Keller

We can all use a reminder that having the courage to be helpful and kind can have great effects, especially when bullying is so prevalent.

Today, March 3, in 1887,  Helen Keller began learning from her tutor, Ann Sullivan. Helen Keller lost her sight and hearing after a severe illness at the age of 19 months. With Ann, the previously uncontrollable Keller flourished, eventually graduating from college and becoming an international lecturer and activist. Sullivan, later dubbed “the miracle worker,” remained Keller’s interpreter and constant companion until the older woman’s death in 1936.

She was considered a bright but spoiled and strong-willed child. Her parents eventually sought the advice of Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone and an authority on the deaf. He suggested the Keller’s contact the Perkins Institution, which in turn recommended Anne Sullivan as a teacher.

Sullivan, age 20, arrived at Ivy Green, the Keller family estate, in 1887 and began working to socialize her wild, stubborn student and teach her by spelling out words in Keller’s hand. Initially, the finger spelling meant nothing to Keller. However, a breakthrough occurred one day when Sullivan held one of Keller’s hands under water from a pump and spelled out “w-a-t-e-r” in Keller’s palm. Keller went on to learn how to read, write and speak. With Sullivan’s assistance, Keller attended Radcliffe College and graduated with honors in 1904.

Helen Keller became a public speaker and author; her first book, “The Story of My Life” was published in 1902. She was also a fundraiser for the American Foundation for the Blind and an advocate for racial and sexual equality, as well as socialism. From 1920 to 1924, Sullivan and Keller even formed a vaudeville act to educate the public and earn money. Helen Keller died on June 1, 1968, at her home in Westport, Connecticut, at age 87, leaving her mark on the world by helping to alter perceptions about the disabled.

Do you know any who is disabled? Do you think they possess courage? Do their caregivers?

Courage and Heroes

When I think of courage, the first thing that pops into my head is a big bold, Hollywood-sized feat in which a hero or heroine saves lives by averting a huge disaster.

Then I get a little depressed because I will probably never be that kind of hero. Few people are. I guess that’s why they are heroes--because it’s not something everyone can do every day.

So where does that leave us average people? Well, in a place where we will probably not make the headlines. That’s a fact most of us have to face: we probably won’t be famous. (Well, maybe we are in our own minds, but that’s another topic.)

Can un-famous people be courageous?  

Living as a courage person isn't about doing what feels good; it is the ability to do what is necessary, even when it feels awkward, unnatural, or downright awful. It is acting in spite of the fear because it is the right thing to do.  

Everyday acts of courage we can all practice and celebrate:

Apologize. Admitting it when you are wrong takes a lot of courage. It’s a bold act to admit when you make a mistake. Apologizing takes you out of your comfort zone and enhances your relationships. That’s a big deal. 

Take responsibility. You are where you are in life because of the choices you make. If you don’t like what you see, change it. It’s not an easy thing to do. But you’ll feel better for having accomplished something that wasn’t easy. Responsibility brings freedom.

Keep your commitments. Write down everything you say you are going to do. Write down the promises you make to others. When you keep your promises, you build self-respect. Others respect you as well. 

Respect yourself. Share your feelings when you witness an injustice. Practice sharing your opinion in an inoffensive way. Don’t allow someone to take advantage of you. Learn to say, “no” politely but firmly.

Forgive yourself. Let go of the past. Stop wallowing over what could have been. What happened is over unless you keep it alive by reliving it in your mind. When we know better, we do better. Reflect on what you could have done. Look for your lesson and use it to grow. Be gentle with yourself and make a new plan. It takes courage to move on.

Grow. Learn something new. Step into the unknown. Change the way you do things. It doesn’t matter if you get it the first time. Try again. Give yourself permission to be a beginner. Seize the opportunity. Growth brings new opportunities. 

Help others. Help someone who has nothing to give you in return. Help someone when you are the one needing help. Learn to be of service. That’s why we’re here.

Follow your dreams. Take action daily toward your goals. Ask for help. Network. Research. Plan. Be open to something even better. Never give up. Adjust. Push on. 

Ask for help. When you are stuck, addicted or unhappy, seek professional help. Hire a coach, a therapist or join a support group. When you are overwhelmed at work, ask for assistance. When you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation. It takes more courage to face your problems than to avoid them.

Love Yourself. Accept your imperfections. Be your own best friend. Show yourself compassion, understanding and respect. This is the most courageous act of all. 

As I thought of these types of acts, I realized anyone can be courageous. There is no small act of courage. You can’t compare the courage it takes to become an Olympian with the courage it takes to raise a physically or mentally challenged child. You can’t compare a firefighter who saves a life to an eight year old child who stands up to a bully. They are all incredible feats. All are heroic. And anyone can be a hero. So, go put on your cape.



Depictions of Courage

In our blog hop, one of the themes of 2016 I and my fellow bloggers will discuss, is courage.

I found this post on Facebook, so some of you may have seen it. It might be difficult some viewers to watch due to the subject matter.

Her name is TiTi. I think her story defines courage because picking yourself up from a downward spiral take a strength few people possess. 

Tell me what you think. Do you feel she is weak for succumbing more than once to her addictions? Or is she courageous for pulling herself up?  

Her book, The Pink Elephant In the Middle of the Ghetto is available on Amazon.