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Unbroken's avatar

Any ideas on how to not be a coward?

Asked by Unbroken (10746points) July 7th, 2013

I always feel like I am coward.

When it comes to people and their emotions. When it comes to decisions that affect my future.

This is a behavoir pattern and as such I should be able to change it.

I have tried to be more direct to people regarding emotions. As to decisions that will impact my future, I am unsure as to where to start.

Then I wonder when I will actually stop being shackled by my fears and when I will start feeling brave and strong, mentally and emotionally. In other words when I will stop feeling like a weak coward. Where I won’t be the person inhibiting my own life.

On the other hand I don’t want to be so rash as to void common sense. How do I work towards a balance?

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12 Answers

talljasperman's avatar

This will work itself out naturally…I don’t think one should have absolute power over everything. Or you can take an assertiveness course.

LornaLove's avatar

I think coward might be the wrong word? To be filled with fear at change or things happening is OK, it does not mean you are a coward. It could be that you have anxiety for example. I have been so fearful of late, and fear has really featured in my life in a big way. But I do carry forth with decisions or things I have to. So I guess that makes me brave. Meaning I forge on despite fear.

You have fear but you are not your fear.
You have feelings but you are more than your feelings.
No one decision is perfect but life is about managing the good and bad ones.

zenvelo's avatar

It takes work. I had to trust in myself to say something, no matter how ridiculous it might sound. So start with small things, and state your preference. And know that you won;t always get your way, but you’ll never get your way if you don’t speak up.

_Whitetigress's avatar

Better a coward at the bar than a brave and violent potential person.

creative1's avatar

You are in no way a coward just being afraid of certain things, everyone in this world is afraid of something. If your looking to concur your fears then you can do so by taking one small step at a time, when you are afraid of doing something take a step in concuring that fear by doing what you are afraid of. I also find when you learn as much as you can possibly learn about it then you are able to face the fear head on and concur it. Please know that doing something once won’t necessarily make the fear go away but it will reduce the anxiety the next time you do it. So don’t give up if you don’t get over your fear/s the first go around it may take many tries before your not afraid of doing what ever it is anymore.

Here is an example… I have always had a fear of needles and blood its was always my biggest fear and to concur this fear I first gave blood and that didn’t seem to work since all I did was pass out a couple of times each time I gave. So in my early 40’s I took a phlebotomy class at the red cross on how to draw blood and by just going to the class and then doing the internship I finally got over the fear I had of both things.

Know for the speaking up about things that bother you well I am slowly but surely getting help in this by seeing a therapist because I always tended to bottle up all of my emotions until they burst and usually at someone who didn’t deserve it they just happened to be the one who said the wrong thing to uncork the bottle. So now I am working through this and sometimes just talking to a threrapist can help you see things you don’t necessarily see and help you deal with the emotions behind it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Nothing wrong with what you call cowardice.

I would call it “calculating the odds and make a decision”, which is a more analytical (and probably safer) way to proceed.

Maybe you want to be more assertive – but the choice to do so, or not, is not based on cowardice – it’s based on your assessment of the situations as of that time.

Better to be smart than to be brave.

Bellatrix's avatar

I don’t think you’re a coward but I do think people can be paralysed by the inability to make decisions because of fear they may get it wrong. Or by lacking the strength to ignore dissenting voices about their ideas and life plans. So if people disagree with their ideas they give up on their plans rather than holding firm and owning their own life choices. Is this what you’re describing when you say ‘cowardice’?

CWOTUS's avatar

You haven’t talked about any failings to act. What you’ve described are “the way you feel” at certain times and about certain things. Okay, you did speak of being “shackled by your fears”, which I guess is a metaphorical way of saying that at times your fears have prevented you from action, but that’s not always cowardice.

If you do the things you have to do regardless of your feelings of fear and trepidation, then you’re certainly not a coward. In any case, I would not recommend that you label yourself, because such labels can be self-fulfilling.

You’re on the road to resolving this, whether you realize it or not. You’re confronting the issue in yourself. Next step is to begin talking about it more, fully exploring your feelings… and then taking action despite some feelings of fear – just don’t be stupid about it. Being smart is often the obverse of the “cowardice” coin.

RealEyesRealizeRealLies's avatar

“How do I work towards a balance?”

It’s really really easy my friend. It’s so easy that most people overlook it… It’s so obvious that it cannot be seen.

Plans. Make plans. Literally write down your desires and plan them out. Don’t worry about making bad plans. You will. We all do. We must. That’s how we learn to make good plans. And that’s how we gain experience and confidence for making any plans.

Look… just think about it. Approaching any life issue without a well thought out plan is obviously dangerous. A cause for fear because you don’t have a clue what you’re going to do.

But… Approach the same issue with a well thought plan (written down as an instruction manual for how to accomplish a task), will allow you to approach it with confidence. You know exactly what you’re going to do because you made a plan. You wrote out instructions for how to do something.

The way to happiness is quite clear. Practically invisible.

Coloma's avatar

You just have to do “it.”
Whatever “it” is.
This challenge never really, ever, goes away. I asked my employer for a raise yesterday and we negotiated.

I was actually quite pleased how it turned out. I didn’t get the exact amount I asked for but…I posed a good argument, for lack of a better word. I calmly replied at one point that a particular extra thing I am doing is of separate value when my employer argued it was part of a package deal. After a few minutes of calm but firm, not backing down, she said, rather exasperatedly ” okay, okay, you’ve got it!” lol

I am not exactly sure what I’ve gotten yet, but I’ll know at the end of the month. haha
Really, it is often the old “fake it til you make it” mantra.
If you express yourself with confidence, you will appear more confident that you really feel.
Yes, don’t use the word “coward”, that is far too negative for our human struggle.

Unbroken's avatar

I apologize for taking so long to reply.
I assure you I read considered all statements and reread them several times. I had to absorb it all and consider them before I felt I could talk about it.

I think everyone brought an interesting point to the table. And I may eventually take the assertiveness class, if I can find one. Or just learn how to jump in and swim literally. My worst tangible fear that I do nothing about and it plagues me as proof of my cowardice.

I may also be mistating or mislabeling myself. Labels can be harmful. It is true I have identified with label of coward for as long as I could remember. It was my secret evaluation of myself. So just admitting it feels like a brave act. I have done cowardly things but I realize now I have also done brave things and a person is a changeable being. Aspects shift and I am not always what I once was or felt or will feel again.

The cautious look before leaping approach is appropriate in many regards. Though there are often times I feel as if I am walking in an impenetrable fog. I can’t see the present and don’t really have a vision of my destination.
I can’t freeze in place and hope the winds dissipate the mist. I must continue. Maybe the fog is a blessing in disguise. It keeps me in the present moment and shields me from seeing all futures that hold pains and joys.

Plans are something I was never great at. But one can plan and be in the here and now. I have begun searching avenues to make informed plans. Though maybe I need to make plans on making plans. : )

I actually picked up a book Embracing Uncertainity. Contains some simple Buddhisms.101 and one be exact. It is easy to read almost too easy but I felt like it was exactly what I was looking for. I think I feel I have an absence of yama Mara.

I think that was what I was trying to get at but didn’t have the words for. I must learn more about this concept. I don’t fear death, but I don’t want to fear life or overly treasure it so much that it becomes a bauble on a shelf.

Thank you all once again. It is nice to be able to take the gaurd down and say things, admit things I have never admitted before.

It is sublime to get thoughtful, responses that help me widen my perspective.

carob_tree's avatar

You sound like my ex girlfriend. If you were her, I would tell you this: You may not be the bravest, but you are brave enough for someone (me). Courage may not be your strong suite but you have the courage to face your fears in trying to conquer them. It takes strength to look at oneself and fortitude to say, “I want to change or better myself”.

I would tell you to view yourself as God views you, and as I view you. Lovingly.

Be cognizant of your areas that need improvement. But mainly see your areas of pride. Look for the good in yourself and nourish it.

If you were Rachel, I would tell you I still love you and always will; for being you.

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