Courage quotes remind us that bravery comes in many forms.
Courage is a trait that is greatly admired in our society. We see it in such movie classics as The Wizard of Oz, when the Cowardly Lion suddenly finds his courage at just the right moment. The brave heroism of police officers, soldiers, fire fighters, and others in harm's way on a daily basis make sure we remember just how much courage it takes to do what they do. Again, this is completely justified. However, there are other kinds of bravery as well - the kind that rarely gets the attention it needs. And this is the reason that courage quotes are so important.
Did anyone ever stop to think what it might be like to hold your head up high as the fat girl who screwed up all her courage to try out for cheerleading, only to be laughed off the basketball court, or told they don't make uniforms in her size? What about what it might be like to ask the person of your dreams out, even if, deep down, you know they are out of your league? Or, maybe just the courage to walk around being your authentic self each day, even if the world does not always approve?
All of those acts and so many more take lots of courage. That does not diminish the admiration of more traditional, visible forms of courage. It just helps us recognize that bravery can come in many different packages. Therefore, we have put together a few courage quotes to show the diversity of bravery in many of its glorious forms.
A Bit About Courage Quotes
Courage quotes can come from many different sources. They can come from brave historical figures, such as war heroes who lived to tell the tale, or from people who overcame all the odds to achieve extraordinary things, or even go on to change the world. However, there is another side to courage quotes.
They can come from ordinary, every day people just like you and me. They could come from the business woman who found her best friend in the homeless lady who sleeps in the New York City Subway to keep warm during the winter. Perhaps it is the homeless woman herself, who has the courage to keep going each day, living an existence so desperate that many of us can scarcely imagine what it must be like. In short, courage quotes can come in the most unexpected and rich of forms, and we hope to give you just a taste of that with this post.
Courage Quotes for Everyday People
When we think of courage, often images of grand and dramatic heroics come to mind. However, acts of bravery happen around us everyday; in some instances we might even participate in them ourselves. These everyday pieces of heroism need more recognition, so that the world can see that bravery comes in many forms. This list of courage quotes will highlight some of the small, but ever so significant, ways in which people show courage just by living their own authentic lives.
1. "It takes a great deal of courage to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."
-J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone (Albus Dumbledore)
This first quote is the perfect quote to start this list of courage quotes for everyday people off with. J.K. Rowling is, of course, the author of the iconic Harry Potter series of books. This quote comes from Albus Dumbledore, in the very first book. Dumbledore utters these fateful words at the Leaving Feast, when he is awarding points to the Houses prior to awarding the House Cup to the House with the most points.
This quote is in reference to Neville Longbottom, a boy whose bumbling ineptitude at the very basics of wizardry meant that he was a subject of taunts from his fellow wizards-in-training- and a source of constant exasperation for his instructors. To top it all off, Neville had been sorted into Gryffindor, a House known for its bravery. Neville seemed thoroughly misplaced in Gryffindor House - but we saw a glimpse of just how brave he was when Neville tried to stop Harry, Ron, and Hermione from breaking the rules and sneaking out. Rather than back down, Neville endured a painful hex that left his body stiff and unmovable on the Common Room floor.
The point is, Neville stood up to the three people who had refused to make fun of him, because his principles were more important than not making even more enemies than he already had. Sometimes we all have to do that. Friendships are deep and important, and we risk them when we create conflict with our friends and loved ones. So, it is indeed a very brave thing that Neville Longbottom did, to risk the few friends he had at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, in order to stand up for what he thought was right. That is why this Dumbledore quote makes the number one spot on this list of courage quotes.
2. "Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage."
- Lao Tzu
Lao Tzu was a very deep and zen Chinese philosopher. He is also the person who gave the world Taoism, a life philosophy that focuses upon, according to legends from ancient times, the quest to "abandon knowledge and discard self" in favor of a higher purpose made up of nothing but good. Well, I would argue that someone so deeply focused on keeping the world a deeply good place definitely would know quite a bit about courage - hence the inclusion of this quote on the list of courage quotes.
Tzu is correct - when you love someone deeply, you develop courage by default. After all, when you truly love someone, you will literally do anything for them. You will do things you never thought in a million years you'd even consider doing for yourself, much less someone else. You might uproot your whole life and move half way around the nation, or even the world, to be with that person. You might give an organ to save his or her life. True love makes for a wonderful, but also frightening experience. Last, but not least by a long shot, it takes an awful lot of courage to give another person your whole life, heart, and self like that. This might just be the ultimate form of courage - to give another so much power over you, and to do so willingly.
3. "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts."
Winston Churchill, was, of course, the famed military leader who led the British to victory during World War II. He then went on to serve not once, but twice, as the Prime Minister of Great Britain. The first time he served was from 1940-1945. That reign ended in defeat, but Churchill ran again, and won, serving out his second term from 1951-1955. Churchill was a respected and revered man of character who was admired by all, regardless of political leanings. He also knew the value of both success and failure in life.
Due to this fact, it is very important that this particular quote go on this list of courage quotes. It takes a lot of courage to admit failure, and even more to get back up and try again. After all, it must have taken a lot to be humiliated in defeat when he ran for a second term as Great Britain's Prime Minister, only to go down, then try again and go on to succeed. It is this sort of courage that helps people make extraordinary history, and that is why this is on the short list of courage quotes.
4. "I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It's when you know you're licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what."
-Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird is an iconic novel by equally iconic author Harper Lee. There are any number of inspiring themes that can be taken from that book, not the least of which is courage. Hence, the Atticus Finch quote winding up on this list of courage quotes.
Finch is right here, and it really is the whole point and theme behind this particular list of courage quotes. We live in a society that idolizes a hyper-masculine and macho idea of strength and bravery. Often, that symbolism takes up all the oxygen on this subject, and we lose sight of the quiet and less dramatic - but definitely no less meaningful - acts of courage.
5. "Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can't practice any other virtue consistently."
Maya Angelou was, of course, one of the most courageous and influential women America has ever seen. She was a revered poet, author, and activist. She famously read poetry at President Obama's first inauguration, helping him to make history. She knew much hardship, and always triumphed with grace and quiet, dignified strength.
The most important thing, though, is that Maya Angelou was a genuinely good person. She loved humankind, and did all she can to make the condition of others better. Through her various genres of work, Maya Angelou truly left her mark on the world, making it a better place for all. Through it all, she showed lots of courage to overcome her many obstacles. That is what this quote is about, and why it definitely belongs on any short list of courage quotes. This was a woman who embodied courage in everything she did, so no wonder she believed that it is life's most important virtue.
Courage quotes help you see the beauty of the different kinds of courage.
There are all kinds of courage, and we should all find our own special version and exercise it whenever we can. Throughout this piece, we have seen some truly remarkable quotes regarding acts of courage that truly made a difference. However, they are not the kinds of courage that one usually thinks of when it comes to envisioning bravery. It is so, so important to realize that you don't need to run after bad guys with guns or go out in a blaze of glory to show courage. That is what makes courage quotes like these so important to our collective consciousness and understanding of what it means to be courageous.
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