Everyone has something they are afraid of. It is just part of human nature. Whether something occurred early in a person’s life that remains with them as an adult or they simply have never liked doing a particular task, cowardice creeps up in the lives of every single person on the planet. However, understanding cowardice, where it comes from, its origin and its overall impact on a person’s psyche is essential. The more you understand about cowardice in general, the more accepting you are likely to become of other people’s own issues, not to mention you might also learn ways to improve upon what you are afraid of yourself.
In order to understand cowardice, you need to start with the cowardice definition. The short cowardice meaning is a general lack of bravery, but there is a middle ground where you are not brave, but not necessarily a coward. Due to this, diving a bit deeper into what cowardice truly means is much more important. Beyond just a lack of bravery, it is when fear and a general self concern prevent you from partaking in a given task or action. It is a complete lack of courage. In the story “The Wizard of Oz,” the Cowardly Lion is afraid of just about anything he does not know or understand, and due to this, his goal is to seek out the gift of courage from the Wizard of Oz. This is not the only example of cowardice, but it is a well known and understood depiction of what cowardice can do to someone and how it can essentially prevent them from helping a friend, even if they are in need.
To truly define cowardice though, you need to move further into not only the actual definition of the word but also look into where the word comes from and its origin. The word coward actually has a rather long and extended history. It first comes from the French word “coart” (although modern French pronounces it “couard”). Coart is a combination of two words, one of which being “tail,” so someone in its original form, if you called someone a cart, you basically were saying they had a tail. To understand this meaning, you need to move even further into why the word tail might be offensive. It is in reference to animals and the way they act around one another in a fight. An animal that is afraid essentially turns and runs away, showing their tail or “turning tail.” When a dog is afraid in a given situation, it’s tail drops in between its legs to show it is afraid.
The Reasoning for Cowardness
When it comes to a shot for cowardice, there are many stems of cowardice and why someone might experience it. For some people, they might have attempted to perform a specific task or action before, only to have an extremely negative outcome. For example, they might have had a musical performance on a stage with parents of all the participating children sitting in the audience. The child might have then started to think about all of the other people watching him or her playing, resulting in a serious of mistakes while playing their instrument. From here, the child might start to worry about what the other viewers might think, which can cause them to have even more mistakes. All of this leads to a disaster and, ultimately causes the child to develop a fear of performing in front of an audience or group of people. This fear is cowardice, so they completely freeze up and avoid ever performing in front of an audience again. It might impact their psyche to the extent where they never ant to perform in front of anyone ever again. This is a very real fear, but it is an example of cowardice. Of course, not everyone develops cowardice due to an experience they had growing up or at some point in their life. Some people simply have a certain fear of different instances without any real reason as to why. They might have a fear of heights, and should they have a loved one who is in danger in a high location, their fear of heights is likely going to prevent them from assisting in the situation. The fear of heights might not come from any real instance, but it can completely destroy their mental ability and take over their entire body, preventing them from doing anything associated with their cowardice.
Impact of Cowardice on the Body
Cowardice manifests itself as fear in the human body. If you find yourself a coward in certain circumstances, or you know someone else who is, the development of fear prevents you from doing what you know is right, yet it has a very strong impact on the rest of your body as well. When a circumstance occurs that makes you feel afraid, your body is going to release a hormone that shuts down just about every function of your body that is not needed to survive and improves functions that you do need. This is why, should you struggle with heights or other fears, you might feel as if you are going to to use the bathroom right then and there, yet you are able to see everything crystal clear. Your heart rate is going to increase, which allows more blood to flow to your muscles, which in turn allows you to run faster. If you have ever been afraid of something and ran away faster than you ever thought you could (or longer), it is due to this very reasoning. The body also releases another hormone in the amygdala area of the brain that allows you to focus on the current situation, determine what is the best way to get out of the problem, and it also makes sure your mind takes a snap shot of the situation, so you can remember it for later and, hopefully, avoid it.
With this information in mind, it probably makes more sense now why certain events in your life where cowardice proved prevelant are stuck in your mind and you can remember every single detail. It is due to how your body reacts to the situation and the chemicals it releases into your brain, making sure you always remember what took place and how to avoid it. Now, of course, with all of these chemical imbalances and increased heart rate, you have all sorts of issues you need to fight against in order to eventually move past what you are afraid of. With so much on the line, even if someone you care about is in grave danger, you might find it extremely difficult to do what you need to do.
In order to reduce your fear and help overcome cowardice, it is necessary to slowly exposure yourself to what causes you such problems. If you are afraid of heights, you need to slowly move up to higher building levels, then move to the outside on higher elevations. As you slowly expose yourself to these situations, your body is able to adjust and understand that you are not in any danger, reducing the amount of chemicals released in your body and improving your actual reaction.