What Is Bravery?


I never thought I would be talking about Caitlyn Jenner on IHABL. It’s not really an appropriate platform for it, in my opinion. That being said, I think one thing has been dragged into the conversation that definitely deserves to be talked about: bravery.

I have seen endless photos of firemen, policemen, and soldiers flooding my Facebook newsfeed from people trying to start a revolution about what bravery really means. As if there is some golden standard by which you can call yourself brave. As if there is some universal bravery scale ready to measure you up in some universal bravery contest.

Regardless of whether or not you believe in/understand/accept the transgender community, no one gets to monopolize the word bravery.

Bravery can be found in a fireman OR a dyslexic teenager applying to college.

Bravery can be serving in the armed forces OR quitting a job that isn’t your passion

Bravery can be found in a policeman OR the protester exercising his or her right to free speech.

Most people reading this blog, including this author, have dealt with a lot in life that have required bravery. Even just in the past few weeks I’ve read it all — diseases, divorces, eating disorders, injuries, mental health issues, addiction, trauma. All from men and women who I have grown to love as I’ve ventured through the blogosphere. I really, truly feel for your pain. If I could jump through the screen and save you, hug you, warm your heart in any way as you’re struggling, I would. Because you all are so, so brave. And I’ll be damned if someone tries to belittle your courage because it doesn’t fit their cookie-cutter description of the word.

This isn’t about Caitlyn Jenner. It isn’t about what your personal belief on that issue is. This is about what bravery is. And bravery is not theirs to define.


  1. AMEN! I have nothing to add because you said it perfectly. Also, you know what? YOU’RE brave for posting this.

  2. You always make such great clear points about the bigger picture when it comes to these kinds of topics. I love reading what you write and often find myself nodding in 100% agreement with your opinion šŸ˜€ People do not have to understand each other all the time, but it would sure help if we all respected each other’s perspectives more!

  3. Um, this is absolutely amazing. I’ll be honest, when I saw the Caitlyn Jenner line in my Bloglovin’ preview, I figured I’d just skip over this post (not because I have anything wrong with Caitlyn Jenner, but because I really don’t have much of an opinion on her at all. She’s doing her life, like everyone else is doing her life, and that’s that as far as I’m concerned), but man am I glad that I read it. You are 100% spot on with this in my opinion – yeah, there may be some overarching definitions of bravery, but just because something may not seem “brave” to you doesn’t mean it doesn’t require a lot of bravery for someone else. I’ve never been all that intimidated by public speaking, for instance, so it doesn’t require a lot of bravery for me to address a group — but for some people, it takes everything in them to talk in that setting. Other people can get on a plane and fly all around the world without a care, whereas I have to spend weeks psyching myself up to get on an airplane, and even then I still spend most of the time while I’m flying clutching my armrests and hoping for a tailwind that will get us to our destination faster. Whenever you do anything that involves a risk for you, whatever that may look like for you – that’s bravery. Standing ovation to you for pointing that out.

  4. Great post. : ) Very thoughtful and important – especially with all the social media “judgements” floating around out there.

  5. Home run. This reminds me of Brene Brown’s Ted Talk where she defines courage as the ability to tell our story. There will always be people out there who will judge us but it takes the ones with a big set (of courage ;)) to stand up and tell our story anyway. And we ALL have a story. Some people just hide theirs better, but we all have one.

  6. Here here! You make such a good point – everyone is brave and no one should be compared by who is braver than who. It really does need to be said so that we can stop all these brutal comparisons all the time!

  7. the craziest thing about this for me is that just 2 days ago, i got a random text from a friend in California whom i don’t even know that well — friend of a friend, really — and it said, “tell me something brave you’ve done in 2015.” it entirely caught me off guard and for the past 3 days, i’ve been thinking about what bravery means to me, and what it looks like on both small and big scales in my life. such a good thing to ponder.

  8. I couldn’t agree with you more on this. I think where the line gets thin with things like this is when the situation is referred to as being heroic, and then in that aspect I have to lean more towards the firemen and police officers that have possibly saved someone from dangerous situations being heroic, but not necessarily someone doing something that Caitlyn did. Does that make sense? Bravery is the perfect way to put it because she is indeed just as brave as anyone else!

  9. I couldn’t agree more! We just live in a world that loves to compare themselves or others to others!

  10. I thought Caitlyn Jenner was brave…until I learned she was getting a documentary TV show about her new life. I still respect her and think she really is transgender, it’s just really unfortunate that now she has to live in the public eye as “The Famous Transgender”. It’s not as brave when you’re getting paid for it.

  11. Respect is the name of the game, isn’t it? You made such a good point. it doesn’t matter what we define as “bravery”, but can we respect what our peers define it as?

  12. I agree that there are all different kinds of bravery and while I’d say that rescuing someone from a burning building is a different level of bravery than quitting a difficult job, I’d also say it’s definitely not up to me to determine what’s brave for someone else! Most of us won’t ever do things like rescue people from burning buildings…so…bravery in our own lives will look a lot different for each person šŸ™‚

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