Prompt: We are often told to “put on a brave face” or to be strong. To do this, we often have to hide, or at least minimize, whatever fears, flaws, and vulnerabilities we possess. However, such an emphasis on strength is misguided. What truly takes courage is to show our imperfections, not to show our strengths, because it is only when we are able to show vulnerability–or the capacity to be hurt–that we are genuinely able to connect with other people.
Topic: Is it more courageous to show vulnerability than it is to show strength?
When I first read that prompt I did not really understand what it was trying to say. I thought, that it was saying that courage was the act of showing vulnerability. Which is of course a question of definition, not of what takes more courage. I started going down into a rabbit hole of the definition of courage, not the actual question.
In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Macduff speaks with Malcolm after hearing that his family has been murdered:
Malcolm: Dispute it like a man.
Macduff: I shall do so;
But I must also feel it as a man:
I cannot but remember such things were,
That were most precious to me.
To have real courage you must be able to open up and reveal your weaknesses. A swordsman who has courage and complete belief in his abilities might walk up to his opponent with his arms down and to the side, revealing the chest, neck, and legs. This stance shows dominance, confidence, and of course, courage. A fighter with no courage approaches as safely as he can, with his sword pointing at his opponent in front of him.
Jorden. B. Peterson said that to be loved you must be open to being hurt. If you are constantly guarded you can’t be loved properly, and you can’t love fully. The same goes for courage: to be courageous, you must be open with your weaknesses and acknowledge your vulnerability.