On The Courage to Walk Away
‘I don’t like how this makes me feel’ is a good enough reason to stop doing something.
You know it when you’re just lazy and could do with some pep talk. You know when you’re lying to yourself. You can pretend and tell the whole world a lie they’ll believe, but when you’re by yourself and take a quiet look at your actions, you know why you did what you did. You know what you have to do.
Courage is not just about a single moment and explosive unexpected behavior.
It’s those little moments when you catch yourself feeling…wrong.
‘I’m not sure what I’m feeling but I don’t like it’.
‘I don’t like the way he talks to me’.
‘I don’t enjoy spending time with her’.
‘I feel like he’s not treating me nicely’.
‘I don’t like this’.
Courage is listening to that quiet urge to GET OUT OF HERE!
To walk away from this thing that feels ‘off’.
Courage is asking a simple question to call out something you have heard many times and always knew was sexist, racist, wrong but thought it was a one time joke.
Except it wasn’t funny and it wasn’t only one time said, or shown.
We’ve been sold the hero’s journey in 1hr30 minute snippets and we assume that’s how we’ll become the heroes in our lives: we’ll get our call to adventure, find a mentor, enjoy beginner’s luck, go through our journey and come out changed — grown — after an epic showdown.
Sometimes, the epic showdown is just you taking your things — literally and figuratively — and walking away.
Sometimes fighting for your life means refusing to sit quietly when someone says something you know you don’t agree with and can’t stand as it corrodes your view of the world.
Sometimes being a hero means refusing to engage in something you don’t agree with. It means being the odd one. The weird one. The only one who believes there’s still good in this world and that it doesn’t matter if everyone is laughing at your beliefs insofar as you know it only takes a moment to show courage.
Or a lifetime of moments.
“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.
– Atticus Finch”
― Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird