Why Caitlyn Jenner is Courageous
Ever since Caitlyn Jenner announced herself to the world there have been mixed commentary on both sides. I often see her compared to war veterans who have lost body members and women who have given birth. The suggestion is that Caitlyn Jenner’s actions are not courageous. I disagree.
Everyone’s courage is different. You cannot compare courage. Courage can be climbing a mountain, falling in love, fighting a war or simply saying, “I’m sorry.” What being courageous means is being afraid of doing something and doing it anyway. What might take courage for one person might be easy for another. We all have different fears and insecurities. It’s natural.
The truth is a lot of people lack courage. We see it all the time. Entire companies have collapsed (think Enron and Arthur Anderson) because someone who knew better lacked the courage to say something. Nearly every time I get on Facebook I see a fight. I see dozens of teenagers standing around taking pictures because 1. they think it’s entertaining and 2. they lack the courage to take a stand against the crowd.
I have definitely acted without courage many times in my life as well. I think it’s safe to say we all have. That’s why when someone steps into their true selves despite the fear, the guaranteed ridicule, and insults we should celebrate that person. We should find ourselves attracted to that person with the hopes that whatever courage they have on the inside of them would rub off on us that we too may live courageously. When one person embarks on a difficult and frightful journey despite their fear it gives the rest of us permission to do the same.
Caitlyn could have continued to live her life the way it was. She could have pretended that everything was great. She could have suppressed the feeling inside of herself telling her that she wasn’t living an authentic life. That would have been the easy thing to do. That would have taken no courage. Instead she chose to follow her heart knowing the attention and bad press someone of her fame could possibly receive. She knew the risks and she did it anyway. That’s courage.
Is the military soldier who leaves his wife and kids courageous? Of course. So is the wife. So are the children. Is the pregnant woman courageous? Sure. Is Caitlyn Jenner courageous? I think so. Everyone of us has some courage and some fear directing our lives. It takes courage every single day to live your own life and be your own person. It takes courage to face life and make the difficult decisions we are all tasked with making. It takes courage to forgo what is safe for what is ultimately the best for us in the end. Everyday, multiple times throughout the day we are faced with a decision to act out of courage or to act out of fear. Anytime we choose courage, no matter how big or small the issue, is a victory.