What Are Characteristics of Bravery?

Firefighters often have to face their fears on a daily basis.
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Compassion, determination, confidence and even fear are common characteristics of bravery. These qualities can be found in daring feats of heroism and more mundane acts of bravery, such as giving up your job to work on a voluntary hunger project overseas or standing up for one of your classmates when she is being bullied.

1 Fear

Bravery is often associated with fearless acts of heroism, but this emotion also is a natural component of bravery and is a normal physiological reaction to perceived physical and emotional threats. Bravery involves learning to cope with and conquer your fears. By doing this, people discover their innate bravery, trust and delight in life, according to the author Chogyam Trungpa in his book “Smile At Fear: Awakening the True Heart of Bravery.”

2 Compassion

Many acts of bravery would never be committed if it weren’t for compassion and altruism. People who risk their lives doing rescue work in war zones are usually motivated by a compassionate desire to help others. Someone who jumps into the water to save someone drowning does so because he puts the welfare of the endangered person before his own.

3 Confidence

Confidence is fueled by a belief in your own abilities and the belief that you can be successful. This is an important characteristic of bravery because those who have high levels of confidence and self-esteem are more likely to take risks and plunge into activities their less-confident peers might view as brave, risky or downright insane. You have to conquer your fears to parachute from a plane, for example, but people who do so have usually weighed the risk against the ultimate rewards and are confident that they will land safely.

4 Committment

Commitment to a higher purpose or goal is a common characteristic of bravery. The firefighter who enters a burning building places herself in a potentially dangerous situation, but does so because she is committed to saving lives and is motivated by higher principles. On a less heroic scale, someone who gives up a regular income to set up her own business or become a freelance artist will naturally experience feelings of fear and uncertainty but learns to cope with these fears because she is committed to pursuing her dreams.

Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Elizabeth Burns began writing professionally in 1988. She has worked as a feature writer for various Irish newspapers, including the "Irish News," "Belfast News Letter" and "Sunday Life." Burns has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Ulster as well as a Master of Research in arts.