Positive Psychology & Scripture Part VII – Bravery

BRAVERY [Valor]

Not shrinking from threat, challenge, difficulty, or pain; speaking up for what is right even if there is opposition; acting on convictions even if unpopular; includes physical bravery but is not limited to it

SCRIPTURE

1 Chronicles 12:21
They helped David against raiding bands, for all of them were brave warriors, and they were commanders in his army.

1 Chronicles 19:13
Be strong, and let us fight bravely for our people and the cities of our God. The Lord will do what is good in his sight.”

The term bravery is referenced in the Old Testament in regards to physical bravery and fighting for the Lord.  There were many battles fought in the Old Testament in which the people of God where commissioned to fight bravely.  This bravery continued into the New Testament in regards to speaking up and declaring that Jesus was the Son of God.  I imagined this took a great deal of bravery to say as it cost many of those people their life. We do not have the same consequences in our daily lives but there are many times that we have to act bravely and speak up in the mist of challenge or difficulty.

DEFINITION

Shelp (1984), came as close to an consensual definition as exists: “the disposition to voluntarily act, perhaps fearfully, in a dangerous circumstance, where the relevant risks are reasonably appraised, in an effort to obtain or preserve some perceived good for one self or others recognizing that the desired perceived good may not be realized”

  • must be voluntary, and not coerced
  • must involve judgment – an understanding and acceptance of the consequences.
  • requires the presence of danger, loss, risk, or potential injury

CORRELATES AND CONSEQUENCES

  • Prosocial orientation
  • Internal locus of control
  • Self-efficacy or self confidence
  • Valuing socially important achievements
  • Ability to delay gratification
  • Ability to experience multiple emotion states at once
  • Age
  • Risk taking
  • Action orientation
  • Knowledge of a context
  • Low levels of arousal under stress
  • Experienced oneness with others or with humanity
  • Common consequences include depression and anxiety,
  • feelings of isolation and powerlessness,
  • increased distrust in other,
  • declining physical health, financial decline, and familial problems (Rosthschild & Miethe, 1999).

DEVELOPMENT

  • People come to understand bravery as they mature.
  • Adolescents have a more developed sense of it and can understand social risks as involving bravery
  • Adults are better able to acknowledge fear as part of the experience
  • It would seem appropriate to describe a child’s behavior as brave once they are old enough to understand the risk

ENABLING AND INHIBITING FACTORS

  • Contextual messages supporting courage
  • Contextual support of prosocial values and an emphasis on truth telling
  • Strong leadership
  • Trust
  • Clear expectations for behavior
  • Community ties
  • Those who respond to challenge with a mastery orientation toward their own experience may be able to sustain brave activity more easily that people without such a mastery orientation (cf. Dweck, 1986; Dweck & Leggett, 1988).
  • prosocial orientation is a necessary part of the development of bravery
  • Secure attachment and prosocial role models may facilitate the development of bravery (c Goldberg & simon, 1982; shepela et al., 1999; way, 1998)

All of the information on each of these strengths come from Character Strengths and Virtues (Seligman & Peterson. 2004)

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