How and Why Courage Is Contagious

Issue 68. March 29, 2024 ✨ Higher Power Coaching & Consulting

Photo Credit: allgo

When I was younger, I believed courage meant not being afraid. I didn’t understand how people could have no fear. How did they get rid of it, or just not have it in the first place??

I’ve learned that courage is actually the ability to act even though you’re afraid. It’s not being fearless. It’s the ability to take action in the face of fear.

Recovery has exponentially increased my courage. Fear no longer stops me the way it used to. The whole reason I got into recovery in the first place was that I was mired in fear and I let it stop me from so many things: my hopes, dreams, desires, relationships, everything. It might delay me now, but it doesn’t stop me the way it used to.

The most important message I’ve gotten about courage from recovery is this:
Courage is Contagious

 I mean that in two different ways. First, your courage is contagious to me. When I hear or see you do something in recovery that shows courage, I believe I might be able to do that same thing. I think this is one of the many reasons why the group nature of recovery is so important. Not only do I have the support of other people in recovery, but I also get to “catch” your courage. I get to catch the courage of all the people in the recovery meetings I go to.

When I hear someone who…

  • Made an amends to someone they never thought they’d ever make amends to
  • Finally asked for something they’ve always wanted but thought it wasn’t possible for them, like asking for a raise, or a divorce
  • Sets a boundary with someone that they didn’t think they’d ever have the courage to set a boundary with

It makes me feel courageous too. Your courage makes things I’ve thought of as absolutely impossible – possible.

The second way that courage is contagious is FROM me, TO me. When I do something courageous, I’m more likely to be courageous again. I had to tell myself “I didn’t die” when I started doing more and more courageous things in recovery, and that helped. I needed to say it out loud to remind myself that, even though it may have felt like I was gonna die, I didn’t.

This was especially true when it came to setting boundaries. The idea of setting boundaries so was terrifying to me that even thinking about setting boundaries made me feel like I was going to die. Then I would do it and NOT die! I reinforced the experience of setting the boundary by saying out loud, “….and, I didn’t die.”

I can see now that it was a way of reminding myself that I have courage. I can act in the face of fear and not die. Which means I can do it again and again and again. So here’s my challenge to you, dear reader – what is the thing you haven’t had the courage to do?

Whatever just popped into your head right now, what is that thing? I challenge you talk about it to someone in the next three days. Tell someone who’s supportive, “I need the courage to do X” and ask if they have a story about doing something similar since courage is contagious. That way you can “catch” their courage. If you’re in any kind of support group, you could ask the whole group and catch a LOT of courage!

Down the road when you’ve done that thing that scared you, please tell other people about it. You never know who you’re going to inspire. When you do this, PLEASE let me know!

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