Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Courage of Link

Link's main defining characteristic, and the one true constant that remains throughout the Legend of Zelda series is his courage.  He is the chosen bearer of the triforce of courage, which chose him because of his ability to face insurmountable odds in the defense of others at great risk to himself.  Link's bravery demonstrates itself in the tireless manner in which he defends those who cannot defend themselves.

But what is courage?  I'm sure you've heard it in movies and books before, and it still rings true...Courage is not just the ability to face something scary to other people.  Courage is admitting that YOU are afraid of something, and still facing that fear anyway, accepting that fear does not control you.

I used to think that I was fearless.  I genuinely believed that nothing in the world scared me.  I was also a testosterone-fueld adolescent wannabe badass at the time, so that might have had something to do with it.  But this wasn't true, and it's not true for anyone, really.  Everyone has something that they are fundamentally afraid of.  You don't truly master your fear until you admit it, accept it, and move on from that.

Personally, I'm afraid of a few things.  I'm afraid of harm coming to my son, my fiancee, or any of my loved ones.  But particularly my son.  I know that my other loved ones are relatively grown, relatively responsible individuals who can defend themselves relatively well if need be.  My son is only three.  He is adorable.  I cannot describe to you the type of love a parent can feel for their child, it is truly something you can only experience yourself, but trust me, I have never felt a stronger, or deeper emotion in my life.  My son is wonderful, and beautiful, and relatively helpless in life right now.  He can't defend himself, or know when he's walking into a bad situation, or even understand bad situations that he's in.

That's what makes the fear so basal.  I am, in effect, the person charged most with keeping him safe.  If something happens to him, it's probably because I screwed up.  I am absolutely terrified of something happening to him, to cause me to lose him in some way, either through physical harm or legal dispute with his mother(my ex).  But I have to see this fear, and accept it, lest is influence my decisions.  I still need to let him play outside, and explore his limits, and boundaries, and trust my own judgement in what I do or do not allow him, because to keep him shut off or limited merely because of my own fear would be to harm him.

This brings me to my next point.  Trusting your own judgement.  I mentioned before that you need to love yourself before you can love anyone else.  You also need to trust yourself, before you can overcome your own fears.  This can be surprisingly hard.  A lot of people are inherently afraid of trusting themselves.

Let's look at Link for a moment.  Link walks into dungeons, not knowing what's going to happen there.  He does it to save his friends, his family, his princess, his kingdom, and his world.  But all these things riding on him mean nothing if he can't trust himself.  He is, more often than not, the only person he can rely on in these dungeons.  He's alone in some lost temple, ancient volcano, or deep forest, with himself, the items on his back, and maybe a somewhat annoying faerie on his shoulder.

Look at your life for a moment.  Think about the challenges you must overcome, the difficulties you need to face.  These are your dungeons.  It may not seem as adventurous as taking down a Dodongo King, or discerning the real Ganon from the Phantom Ganons, but I promise you, your dungeons are every bit as real and dangerous.  You need to trust yourself, and face your fear of these dungeons.  Remember my post a while back about challenges.  You are your own biggest fan, and biggest critic.  Until you trust yourself, you cannot rely on yourself.  Until you can rely on yourself, other people cannot rely on you.

If you want to be the hero of your own world, you can do it!  Face your fears!  Everyone has fears, they are nothing to be ashamed of!  Admit you are afraid, and then know that you are in face strong enough, and brave enough, to face down those things that you are afraid of.  You can slay that dragon of a boss that's holding you down at work, you can climb that mountain of inequity that is facing you at school, you can defend yourself against the jeers and insults of your peers by knowing that you are the hero of your own story.  You can believe in yourself, you can face your monsters and demons, and you can rise above like the Eternal Hero, Link.

Dan "DaRastmastah" Wallace

Link, The Legend of Zelda, Hyrule, Ganon, and all property therein are © Nintendo.

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