Boldness: A Cheap Substitute For Courage

A Curious Inconsistency

Relational issues are the worst. We all wish our friends would have the nerve to tell us if they have a problem with us, but we don’t want to be that friend and tell others when we have a problem with them. I’ve always envied the people who don’t seem to care what others think of them. They are bold and are completely unphased by the opinion of others. I hate confrontation. I don’t want to offend anyone. There are few things worse than thinking that someone is mad at me. So I generally assume that I am insecure and that the people who have no problem spouting off what they think are confident. But the longer I’m around people like this the more I realize they are just as frightened as I am, but in a different way. They may come across as straight forward in the heat of the moment, but I think it is just as difficult for most of them as it is for me to kindly address an issue after the situation has died down. It’s easy to rage in the storm, the challenge is standing in the calm.

Two Ways to be Bold That Do Not Require Courage

Being bold can be kind of a copout—a cheap imitation of real courage. There are at least two easy ways to be bold that require no courage.

  1. Drive a Car.

People are scared of other people, but not of machines. While it may be bold, it doesn’t take much courage to lay on the car horn, flaunt inappropriate sign language or yell things I can’t repeat from the inside of your car. It doesn’t take courage because you’re not yelling at a person. You are yelling at a machine. The same is true with comments on social media. It’s easy to be bold when you’re talking to a computer. It’s different when you’re speaking to a human being.

  1. Lose Your Cool.

Another way to be bold without courage is to thrive on your temper. Maybe you’re the kind of person who is quick to the draw when tensions rise. But it doesn’t take courage to vocalize opinions when anger and adrenaline kick in. What takes courage is to cool off and lovingly face the person and bring it up again after the adrenaline is gone. It’s not hard to start a fight, but it can be terrifying to start a real conversation. Sometimes it’s easier to talk at someone than to talk with someone and work it out.

Having Courage When You’re Scared to Death.

Boldness is a personality trait. It comes naturally to some people and not to others. Courage doesn’t come naturally to anyone. But this is good news. If courage is not a personality trait, then anyone can have it. You don’t have to be Type-A or aggressive to have courage. In fact, those qualities could make it more difficult to express true courage if you are used to hiding behind the guise of boldness, which can actually be a form of cowardice. Real courage in dealing with relationship frustration requires genuine care for the other person, and some thought and preparation about how to address the issue with tact in such a way that you are more concerned with winning the person than winning the argument.

How have you expressed courage relationally when you were scared to death?

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