From Journaling Prompts.
What kinds of acts could be described as courageous, and why?
Aside from the usual things—running into a burning building to save someone, standing up for what one believes in, etc.—I’d say one of the most courageous acts is to put oneself out there in search of a partner after a tremendous hurt. It’s a risk that you take that, unless and until you find someone that you spend the rest of your life with, is not likely to go in your favor.
That sounds pessimistic, but we’re not birds. We generally don’t mate for life with the first partner. The average person starts dating in high school, but few marry their high school sweethearts. Most people who date and search for a partner have a few relationships before they decide to commit for good. Along the way they suffer break-ups, and while break-ups, or at least the events leading up to them, may cause some unhappiness, that’s part of life. It’s normal, and not what I’m talking about. Same for people who part ways as friends. It might be bittersweet, but it’s not devastating.
I’m talking about those who suffer an excruciatingly painful break-up owing to betrayal, infidelity, abandonment, abuse, or a nasty, protracted divorce, something that leaves their lives and hearts in tatters, yet they decide to put it behind them and try again. That takes guts, because they’ve already experienced some of the worst that a partner can dish out, so they know what is possible. They also know how much pain they, themselves, are capable of feeling. Sure, they may use the wisdom of experience to try to avoid partners who would do what the previous one did, but the reality is that you can’t be 100% sure of anyone. That’s what causes such tremendous hurt in the first place: You think you know someone and you think there is this one person in all the world who accepts you for who you are, even with your faults and flaws, and this person will always have your back, love you, and be there for you to love in return, and it turns out that’s not the case.
Do I have that courage? Probably, but I’m not sure I’ll ever find out. It took me a long time to recover from my last relationship, to where I no longer felt grief and could look at a picture of my ex and think, “Meh. Whatever.” It took so long, in fact, that now I just can’t be arsed. I’m not afraid of letting someone get to know me or letting someone in. Yeah, sure, I could tell someone my stories and what I stand for and he can adore me or not. I just don’t feel any urge to get to know someone else. There is almost always something I’d rather do with my leisure time than go on a date, like read, watch a movie, hang out with my bird, go out with friends, hike, write, listen to music, or visit a museum.
Maybe in this culture with all of its pressure to partner up and the stigma it inflicts upon single people, that’s courageous, too.