Getting yourself going to confront a problem, move toward a goal, or persist through pain can be enormously difficult. Moments when you break through hesitation can be as memorable as they are hard. They teach you something and improve your confidence. These experiences can be assets.
However. Sometimes giving up or avoiding can be harder than confronting or continuing a challenge. Let’s face it- although sometimes it is tough to force yourself to take on a challenge, other times jumping into a situation where the odds are against you is a serious temptation.
Retreating can be the pinnacle of self-mastery. Even if you are afraid of conflict, once you are in the thick of things, it can be uncomfortable to withdraw if you have to anticipate another laborious round at a later time. Easier in many ways for everything to win or lose in one go, emotionally. Playing the long game is usually far more challenging than putting it all on the line and getting the pain over with.
Although wisdom is foresight, acting wisely is tougher than just seeing what to do. The moment of retreat, backing down, pulling back—these are short term phenomena that pose a different kind of challenge. Ergo, courage in withdraw. Instead of being led by your impulse, you may willfully confront yourself. And that is an exercise in courage. Pain and fear can as easy apply to backing down as to getting yourself going.
Sometimes you must overcome yourself to press on. But sometimes, you have to overcome yourself to retreat. Courage is not an excuse to go forward no matter what. Quite the opposite, you need courage just as much to let go.