According to the Oxford dictionary, courage is the ability to do something dangerous, or to face pain or opposition, without showing fear. Often, the word courage gets mentioned with the word brave.
The Oxford dictionary defines brave as follows: willing to do things that are difficult, dangerous, or painful, not afraid, requiring or showing courage.
Friends frequently use both of those words when they talk about my health journey, and it always makes me cringe. I don't feel courageous or brave; I'm a person living my life as best I can while managing an invisible illness.
I am not doing anything dangerous, nothing extraordinary, or anything that creates fear. Is my life difficult? Sure, but everyone has challenges in their lives, I remind myself. Yes, there is a lot of pain associated with my condition, but it's been there so long it just is something I navigate throughout life and carry on with what I am working on as best I can.
When my friends call me brave or comment on my courage, I struggle to see what they see. To me, I am doing what I always do, living with life an invisible condition as best I can.
Those few close friends who I've been very candid with regarding the challenges I face remind me that I have managed to adapt to things over time. They have shared that they wouldn't be able to manage things with the resiliency that I do. One close friend confided that if she had to face what I did, she wasn't sure she'd have the courage and strength to face each day with a positive outlook.
So why do I feel like a fraud anyway?