I had never heard of the US gymnast Simone Biles until one of my daughters was raving about her on Monday. Tuesday there was a piece on the news mentioning that she had dropped out of an event at the Olympics due to mental health issues. Wednesday there was another piece on the news mentioning that she had dropped out of another event for the same reason. In the same week, the Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka lost an early-round Olympic match. She, too, has been in the media recently due to her own mental health challenges. Both women have been the targets of terrible abuse by people calling them weak, unprofessional, and worse.
Courage is not the absence of fear, it is feeling the fear and acting anyway. When the choice is between two unwelcome things, like trying to compete when your head is not in the game, or dealing with one’s own internal voices, the powers that be, and the ignorant haters, courage needs the assistance of discernment.
When good discernment determines that the courageous thing is to be true to oneself at the expense of the machine, not only is not the fear the haters claim it is, it’s actually more courage than the haters may ever have.
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