Candace Ganger
November 18, 2015 11:45 am

Bravery can be defined in so many ways. From heroes who fight for freedom to those struggling through chemotherapy in the wake of a tragic diagnosis, being fearless is not a trait we all tap into naturally. While some of us are born with a boldness, a definitive presence, that appears to have no obvious reservations others, like me, carry bravery quietly; a tool I’d have to utilize if someone I love ,or my life, were in danger. With all the things going on in the world today, I often wonder what I would do if faced with similar situations. Would I run or would I stand tall? This made me think of one of my favorite characters of all time, Detective Olivia Benson of Law & Order: Special Victim’s Unit, because she reminds me week after week what it means to look fear in the face.

So why all the props? Oh, let me count the ways! Besides the fact that she’s fearless, feisty, and fabulous, she also kicks major tush! What more can you ask for from a fictional character? The answer is nothing (except for Detective Elliot Stabler to come back as her partner)! Here are just some ways Detective Benson taught me about being brave, even when you feeling anything but.

Don’t run away from scary things

Despite what my darling Gram tried to tell me, like really isn’t all sunshine and roses. It can be challenging and downright terrifying sometimes. One defining trait of Detective Benson’s character is that even when faced with scary, sometimes haunting, situations, she does not turn her back on them bu instead, faces them head-on. This goes far deeper than doing her job as a Detective (and now Lieutenant), but as a human with a very complicated past. The brilliant writers have given her all kinds of outs when it comes to running in the other direction of her demons, but she never does. If being brave means to learn how to cope with the uncomfortable, she does it without breaking a sweat.

Women really can do anything

Raise a child and save the world? Sure, it’s scripted, but Detective Benson is just one fictional example of the millions of strong women who do this kind of thing every day. It’s empowering to see a character embody that “having it all” attitude. And while balance is tricky and it’s not always easy, she strives to show her son what an independent, strong woman looks like.

Compassion and strength can co-exist

Many stereotypes exist in that, as a woman, you can’ be strong and compassionate but Olivia breaks the mold. A key reason she is so good at her job is because she is personally invested in helping her victim’s, whatever that means.

Being brave isn’t going to be easy

Yes, Detective Benson has been kidnapped and nearly killed a number of times, and yes, she’s gone through a couple partners, and YES – as I said, her past has many layers, some abusive in nature. With all this against her, you’d think she’d quit on the spot. But being brave means standing for what you believe, even when it feels too bog a mountain to overcome.

Sometimes you will lose

You can’t win ’em all. There have been many cases Detective Benson lost that I pulled for. The reality is, that’s life. Bravery is its strongest, I think, when faced with loss. True character is revealed through how you react regarding loss and if Detective Benson were to lose every case for the rest of her career, I’d still think of her as one of the bravest women represented on tv today. Because she never gave up.

[Image courtesy of NBC]

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