In the language of colors, bravery is represented by the colors red and purple.
Red is a color of bravery because it is associated with action and danger. Brave people must take action rather than giving into their fear, so red suits. Furthermore, brave people often have to deal with danger and overcome it.
Purple is a color of bravery because it’s associated with noble (and even royal) people. It represents the courage to fight for a greater purpose. Today, we still have the purple heart as a medal for people who were injured in battle.
Red As a Color Of Bravery
Red is a warm color that is most strongly associated with blood. As the blood flows faster and the pulse beats stronger when a person becomes excited or agitated, red has also become linked with danger, energy, power, strength, and bravery.
It is a strong color that is capable of commanding attention even from afar. The eye is automatically drawn to this shade even when used in combination with other colors, which is why this is the preferred color for road signs and other announcements.
But too much red can be overpowering, intimidating, and even stressful, so it should be used sparingly such as through accessories or color accents in designs.
Red is the oldest color used by humans, with the earliest traces of it being used as early as 40,000 years ago.
It was painted on the caves of early settlers by using red ochre. Hunters during the Stone Age also painted their body using red clay before heading out to hunt.
Because of its impact on the emotions, red has also become a common sight in national flags and revolutionary activities, with the aim of inspiring people towards unity and allegiance. It also inspires courage, leadership, and determination.
After black and white, red is the next color that the human eye can see. Babies and people recovering from temporary color blindness see red first once they begin to perceive color.
Because the blood flows through the heart and gives it a red color, the heart is also perceived to be red. Thus, red is also used to represent many emotions that are associated with the heart such as love, devotion, and passion.
Through the years, the color red has featured in literary works, and become significant in different countries and religious groups :
- Mars, the Roman the god of war, was depicted in red color. This is why Roman soldiers and gladiators would wear red clothes or armor.
- In Greek mythology, Clytemnestra prepared a red path for Agamemnon to walk on to celebrate his bravery and safe return after battle.
- For Christians, red represents the sacrifice of Christ as he gave up his life to redeem the sins of man. To honor the blood of Christ, the shade is used in robes of Church officials and is also prominently included in fabrics used for ceremonies.
- In Feng Shui, red is an auspicious color and represents the element of fire. It represents good fortune, happiness, and prosperity, which is why it is used for royal robes in the ancient times, and for wedding robes in modern times.
Purple As a Color Of Bravery
Often referred to as the color of royalty, purple is more universally seen as a representation of wealth, luxury, and nobility. In some instances, it is also used to depict magic, mystery, and imagination. But a lesser-known, but just as significant, association with the color is that of bravery or courage.
Purple is quite a baffling color when it comes to color psychology. This may be due to its origin as a mix of two contrasting colors which are red and blue. One is a warm color, while the other is cool, and they each have qualities that can be contradicting, but they mix well together.
Likewise, people often find themselves conflicted about their reactions to the color purple. In academic research conducted among more than 200 respondents from 22 countries, purple was not a favored color, especially among men.
But interestingly, it was perceived to signify bravery and courage.
In the US, the oldest military award is called the Purple Heart. It is given in the form of a medal and is accorded to soldiers who were injured or have died in battle.
This recognition was initiated in 1782 by then President George Washington to honor soldiers who have exhibited bravery and heroism. Its first appearance was as a purple cloth shaped as a heart stitched with the word “merit”.
What is Bravery?
Bravery is often misunderstood as the absence of fear. However, being brave is not the same as being fearless. Bravery is about not letting fear get in the way of what one intends to do.
It means going forward despite being afraid, a choice that one makes when faced with danger or difficulties.
The ability to overcome fear does not come naturally. It takes conscious effort, coupled with strong determination. Human nature is all about self-preservation, and this is why people feel afraid.
Fear serves as a warning of anything that can potentially cause harm, reminding a person to stay away and save himself. Bravery, then, essentially goes against human nature, and it takes strength of character to be able to do this.
Pain, suffering, and the risk of failure are barriers that stop people from pursuing things that they need or want to do. A brave person understands this, yet he chooses to continue because of a belief in a bigger purpose, and this bravery can be exhibited in different ways.
There is the kind of bravery that enables a person to overcome the threat of physical harm or even death in the name of the greater good, such as soldiers who go to war to protect their country.
There is also moral bravery, which entails speaking or acting on a decision, despite the possible social or financial repercussions, because of the belief that it is the right thing to do. And there is also mental bravery, which is the kind of courage that helps an individual defeat his inner demons.
Bravery is not about the absence of fear or about being fearless. On the contrary, a brave person is someone who feels fear, understands the danger, and knows that he could be harmed in the process, yet he still chooses to do it. Bravery means taking action in spite of fear.
Red, as the color of blood, is the appropriate representation of bravery. It stands for the intense pounding of the heart and the faster flow of blood that people experience when facing danger. It shows the courage of standing up for something that you believe in despite the possible backlash.
Purple is a variation of red but is tamed with the cool essence of blue. Thus, while it still stands for bravery and valor, it is used for more than just an individual objective. Rather, it represents the courage to fight for a greater purpose, such as soldiers going to war to protect their country.
I’m Chris and I run this website – a resource about symbolism, metaphors, idioms, and a whole lot more! Thanks for dropping by.