Lately I’ve been pondering the use of the word brave. Because I have been called brave.
It’s a word that I hear used for people in the military – people who go get shot at and blown up.
So I think it can be misused. Or perhaps I don’t understand why people are choosing to use such a word in relation to me.
The dictionary definition of brave is;
1. possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.
2. making a fine appearance.
Here are two reasons why I think people use the word brave to describe me.
Dysfunction-phobia is a fear of losing function and becoming disabled.
Philip Patston describes it as:
“The fear or hatred of losing function and, unlike homophobia (the fear or hatred of same-sex love and attraction), dysfunctionphobia goes unchecked in society.”
2. Not knowing what else to say.
Some people may not be dysfunction-phobic, but they may not know how to appropriately praise someone. So they choose to used words like brave, or inspirational, when they may actually mean, “I cannot imagine doing that task even with common function, so it is amazing for me to see you doing it.”
Bravery summed up
An able-bodied person may see a person with unique function doing something that they would find difficult or challenging, it will be personally confronting, and they are not sure how to verbalise this appropriately.
Or, the compounding fear of losing function and doing an ‘everyday task’ they perceive as difficult must be an act of bravery.
I don’t think of myself or my actions as brave – not even when I jumped off the Sky Tower (that’s just plain crazy). And I still don’t particularly understand why others would see me that way, aside from my possible explanations above.
What do you think?