When helping clients work on their character strengths, Dr. Matheson often suggests starting with “bravery”. He finds most people don’t think of themselves as particularly brave or courageous.

Dr. Matheson’s experience is consistent with responses to the Character Strengths Survey. Of the twenty-four character strengths, only “self-control” is ranked lower than bravery in the lives of survey takers.

Part of the explanation for why we think we aren’t very brave may be that our definition of bravery is too narrow. The Character Strengths Survey describes bravery as “confronting threats, challenges, difficulties, fear or pain, speaking up for what is right when there is opposition; acting on unpopular convictions; not the absence of fear.”   

In The Character of Jesus, the courage of Jesus is described as, “the courage of the quiet and commonplace days, along the dusty road when there was nothing to heat the blood or stir the mind to lofty moods.”

If you don’t see yourself as a brave or courageous person try this: Read the above description of bravery carefully, and then for the next few days look for acts of bravery in your life. When you see one, celebrate it! You may find you are braver than you thought.

Character defines who we are and how far we will go.

How strong is your character?