Brave and Courageous… Really?


There have been a number of words used to describe me, in the last four years specifically, that have baffled me. Baffled as to why they were being used towards me, when I believed I was ‘just being me’ and doing what I thought need to be done, even though I may have been upset or scared. I have recently made a similar decision – that is, bringing a relationship to an end – and the same words are being used again.

The two main words that keep coming up are:

Brave and courageous

Often, when these words have been used, as far as I was concerned I was a mess and, whether I liked it or not, simply doing what needed to be done – namely walking away from relationships that I believed no longer held respect.

I don’t need to share the nitty gritty about who said or did what because that’s not the point. What matters is the fall out and questioning that came behind the use of these words; brave and courageous.

You see, two of the relationships I walked away from were because I discovered that the men I was in relationship with were lying to me. And the lies were big lies.

Lies about the financial situation, their ‘meetings’ with people and how they were spending their time when they had told me they were working.

Lies upon lies, even when I was asking of the truth – giving them the space to tell the truth, yet they lied. I get that lies often come from a place of fear, looking to cover our backs. But a lie is a lie. And once discovered, trust leaves a relationship.

And a relationship without trust is, well… questionable at best.

Lies not only disrespect the person they are being told to, they also disrespect the person telling them.

When I asked why I was being called brave and courageous I was shocked to discover from the people using them (of both genders) was that I was prepared to set boundaries and stick to them.

It was brave that I was prepared to be on my own, rather than settle for the relationship I had.

I was courageous to state my self respect and let it not be moved.

Yet, in amongst all of these comments of bravery and courage I was still being asked whether I would go back, ‘Give him another chance’


Where does self respect sit in that?

I do not blame these guys for the lies they told. They did what they did for their reasons, which I know truthfully had nothing to do with me.

“How someone treats you says more about them than it does about you”

We all can and often do lie, more frequently than we are prepared to admit.

Especially to ourselves!

And this is the point.

I could have lied to myself that I could stay around, make ‘this’ relationship work.
I could have lied to myself that this was all I deserved.
I could have lied that it was better to be in an OK relationship than be on my own.
I could have lied to myself that I could change him, fix him or make things better.
They say – the truth will set you free.
Even if it is uncomfortable!

No-one deserves to be lied to.
Everyone of us has the choice to stay or go.
And whatever choice you make (neither are right or wrong) is about how you perceive yourself, your level of self worth and self respect.
We each have the choice as to what we perceive as acceptable.
This is not an easy one for me to learn (and still be learning).
But lying, for me now, has to be unacceptable.
It is unacceptable when it comes from an outside source AND has now become even more unacceptable when it’s a thought in this brain of mine – and this is not easy or comfortable to see.

When did it become brave to not accept lies?
When did it become courageous to have self respect?
I am truly baffled.

My ‘rant’ has been sparked by a comment that “if you love someone, no matter what happens, you will always find a way to stand by their side.”

What, and allow their poor behaviour and treatment of you to continue?

“People treat you the way you allow them to treat you”

To accept it?
To give them permission for it to be acceptable?
To disrespect yourself and allow them to disrespect you too?

I am sorry but I do not buy it.
I do not buy the ‘stand by your man/woman’ no matter what.
I did that for years in my marriage.
That never stopped the lies. (both his and my own lies to myself)
That never stopped me trying to convince myself that one day it will be different.
The day that it became different was when I said ‘enough’.
This is no longer acceptable.
I said it to him.
But more importantly I said it to me, for me.

What kind of world are we living in when being authentic, saying no, being true to you and having self respect is seen by others as brave and courageous.

What are we teaching our young people about relationships – be them intimate or friendships or work colleagues or any interaction with another human.

When will self respect and setting boundaries be seen as the norm and not something that stands out to be celebrated.

We don’t have to rage against the other person, I do not blame these men for their actions or feel I need to forgive them. They did what they did, with or without thinking about the consequences.

Maybe they didn’t expect any consequences because they had never met someone ‘brave and courageous’? I don’t know.

I am not angry at them either. They did what they did and that was about them not me.

It does shock me that the behaviour of setting boundaries and sticking with them, is standing out. That others are noticing and finding it unusual.
That they call me brave.
Say I am courageous.

And it shocks me that so many people would like me to change my mind — To go back and settle for what I had – a kind…but lying…man.

Maybe this choice of action scares people and they worry about the consequences for themselves?
What if their lies were discovered, what would happen then?
What if they had to face the lies they were being told?
What if you have to face the lies that you are telling yourself?

Maybe the brave and courageous comments are more about me being prepared to face the truth –which is unnerving at times. It can bring uncertainty, discomfort and a sense of confusion.

Honestly, I’m not always joyous about what I discover, believe me.

But I would rather be in a place of discomfort and uncertainty and respect myself, than be compliant in accepting lies and so disrespecting myself, or others.

The intent behind writing this is bringing something to the table for discussion, (even if that is only a discussion in your head) and I’d love that, to have a discussion. To hear your thoughts on this.
So please share and comment… what do you think?