Tuesday, 4 May 2004

What is courage?

When you hear the word "courage" many of you might think of superheroes and freedom fighters like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. When I hear "courage" I think of all those everyday heroes among us. I believe these unknown heroes are just as important as all the known ones.

So, who is an everyday hero? To me it's a person who is himself and who dares to stand up for his opinions. A person who dares to go against the stream and not fall for peer pressure. I think it's very important one dares to be oneself. I often see people who keep quiet about their opinions because they're afraid what everyone else might think. It's sad to see so many people take a lot of crap from others, and to just keep it within themselves. I wouldn't be able to stand it if I wasn't able to express my opinion.

Is it fair to pretend to be someone you're not and agree with everything, only so you won't be seen as an outsider? I would rather be an outsider than to pretend to be someone else. I believe the most important thing is to be yourself, and if we don't take that chance, then we've lost part of our identity.

I once knew a person who thought I was selfish and self-centered because I don't get involved in world problems. He also believed every human should actively work for peace on earth, and see to it that justice is made. This guy also believed everyone should be politically active, and as I wasn't very read up on politics and world wars, he patronized me. He almost seemed to think I was stupid.

I agree there is a need for commitment, but I also think there are many ways to show that you care. Not everyone can be engaged in the same things. I become very depressed when I hear about war and similar things, and politics really aren't my thing. As already there are many who are a lot more read up on those things, I think it's better I leave it to them. Instead I try to concentrate on changing the world on a smaller scale. I try to improve my surrounding and work against bullying and prejudice.

I don't think I'm a worse person because I'm not politically active, but I believe there are plenty of ways to improve the world. For me, it's about concentrating on my own surroundings. For me, courage doesn't need to be about fighting for world peace. It can be about daring to say your opinion and stand up for what you believe in.

I would like to give a standing ovation to all those everyday heroes out there, and those of you who dare to be yourself. Hang in there!

© Dennis Svedberg Hellström