Beautiful Words, pt. 8

This week’s quote is from Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz.

If you follow me on Instagram, you might already know how I feel about this book. I loved it. I read it for my book club last month and was floored by my reactions to it. When discussing the book, at times I felt belittled. Some people talked about how cliché it was (true). There was a fascinating discussion about the representation of Mexican Americans in the book.

What all of this made me realize is what it was precisely about the book that I loved. It was the Aristotle’s observations about his and Dante’s families. It was the first time someone described a family, and I felt I could really truly relate.

Anyway, my favorite quote is about Dante’s father:

“Mr. Quintana was brave. He didn’t care if the whole world knew he was kind.”

I have played with the concept of bravery a lot this year, and I’m constantly reminded that bravery and courage doesn’t always mean things like jumping out of planes or going into war. They are, more often, little things like saying I love you first or telling a friend when you are upset.

As Brene Brown says in I Thought it Was Just Me:

“Courage is a heart word. The root of the word courage is cor – the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and today, we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds. But in my opinion, this definition fails to recognize the inner strength and level of commitment required for us to actually speak honestly and openly about who we are and about our experiences — good and bad. Speaking from our hearts is what I think of as “ordinary courage.”

So remember, courage can be a big act, and it can also be a decision to remain soft and kind.

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