What Does “Keep Your Chin Up” Mean? When To Use It

what does keep your chin up mean

It is a phrase that implies that one should not be discouraged. As bad as the situation is, it will get better.

Simply put, life has many ups and downs, and we should not be discouraged when things are down. We can use this phrase anytime when we are feeling discouraged. While some people are eternally optimistic, some require reminders not to become discouraged in uncertain situations.

Any way we look at this idiom, it is one of the very best indications of friendship and caring. Someone who uses this phrase about us is showing that they care about us. That is, they do not like to see us sad and discouraged in a situation. They are reminding us that while we may feel insecure at this moment, a better moment is on the way.

Read on to discover the whole meaning of this idiom and how to use it.

What Does “Keeping Your Chin Up” Look Like?

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The long-lived idiom in English of “keep your chin up” has been reinvented several times in its history. As a result, it takes on a different context depending on the fashions of the time. Also, the meaning changes depending on what individual or group utilizes the phrase. But in general, it has always been used to reassure ourselves and others not to be discouraged.

Life is a constant challenge fraught with many beautiful moments, unfortunately, just as many difficult ones. It is this reality of life that would make us feel discouraged from time to time. As a result, we may need to be reminded that a beautiful moment is on its way, and the only thing required from us is patience. By “keeping our chin up,” we are reminded of the fact that we can wait for a better time that is absent of fear or concern.

Understanding The Idiom, “Keep Your Chin Up,” And Its Implications In Relationships When Used With Others

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Idioms exist in all languages and have several reasons for their use. English speakers and writers, we understand the attached meaning of an idiom. Although the words making up the idiom may not make sense or be misleading, we know what is being said.

Historically speaking, this idiom was first used at the turn of the century. At this time, it was common for people to face adversity with the assistance of others with the supportive phrase, ” keep your chin up.” In America, people often shortened this idiom to “chin up,” not looking down in a difficult situation. Instead, lift your “chin up” to face the problematic moment head-on. Indeed, by “keeping one’s chin up,” we can face difficult moments with dignity and, once passed, would have the person ready to move forward with renewed hope and optimism.

The first time this idiom appeared in writing occurred in the sixteen hundreds in England. While not precisely worded the same, ” keep a stiff upper lip.” It is a variant of the American idiom with the same meaning of facing a difficult situation without fear or sadness. In America, the concept was first used in writing in the newspaper.

This idiom has appeared in history both in text and verbally. It has retained its meaning over time as courageously facing life’s challenges with controlled emotion.

“Keeping Your Chin Up,” In The Community

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There is an implication that those “keeping their chin up” have come by a difficult moment. People believe they have fallen into a fearful or discouraged state of mind. Many feel that because they respond poorly to the situation, the verbal encouragement of ” keep your chin up” is warranted. In this belief, those needing the apparent emotional support” are often seen by the community as emotionally weak in some way. It is essential to remember that we can train ourselves to respond to stressful situations without emotional affect. It is customary and even expected that our first response would be an emotional one.

The reality of an emotional response to a difficult moment is, in fact, an instinctual one, coming deep from within our consciousness. This emotional furor prepares us to either fight or flight to escape the perceived threat of the difficult moment.

The best present-day examples of this reality we find in the conflicts between countries during times of war. Largely relegated to face battle by orders, it can be difficult not to be discouraged in a conflicting situation. It can be challenging to engage in a stressful situation without understanding the reason why one is involved. Here we can see the need for such an idiom in helping us focus on the duty of moving forward.

The opposite, unfortunately, can also be the case. Here the person understands clearly the reason for the conflict and why they are facing a stressful situation. In this situation, the perception of a negative outcome can necesítate the reminder, ” to keep your chin up.” There are many instances in history where the odds are against a positive result, and the situation appears grim. Here we may not be trying to encourage the person by using this idiom, but by preparing them for what is to come. What if the perceived outcome is, in fact, a negative one? We will greet the end with bravery and integrity.

How we end a problematic situation is at least as necessary as how we begin it. If the position we find ourselves in is, in fact, a life or death conflict, ” keeping your chin up” can be a metaphor for how we will face the final moments. If we consider leaving life with fear and trepidation, it sends a sad and futile message about our life and how it was lived. Better than in our final moments, we show the best qualities of our human condition in bravery, integrity, and self-sacrifice for those that will follow. It is, after all, the message that we will be remembered for; best, it is a meaningful message for all.

For most of us, “keeping your chin up” is a supportive message to get us through normal day-to-day processes. Perhaps we are facing a legal situation that is unresolved. We may be going through a disaster of some kind that destroys our property or home, the loss of a personal relationship or friendship. In all cases, the process to get through the situation may require that we remember or assure ourselves nothing lasts forever. And that we will have another moment for peace, success, and time of rebuilding once the situation passes.

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Example Sentences With The Idiom “Keep Your Chin Up.”

  1. Our commander told everyone on the frontline of the war to “keep their chin up.”
  2. “Keep your chin up,” and everything will be fine!”
  3. He always said, ” keeping your chin up” was the American thing to do.

Conclusion

While facing the challenges of life, we are reminded that it is crucial to do so while “keeping your chin up.” This phrase reminds us that there is a beginning and an end to all things in life. Suppose we maintain control of our emotions through difficult moments. In that case, we can, in the process, express the best of all human qualities to others. Human traits like bravery, self-sacrifice, patience, and commitment are all part of keeping one’s chin up.”

It is part of life that, at times, we face a situation that has no positive outcome. This type of no-win situation is also one that must be faced with one’s chin up. If we begin something with conviction in doing the right thing, we must end it in the same way. How we end something is as important as how we start it. If the situation is to be our last, let us leave it with our chin held high in conviction and face it head-on with all the best human qualities; a life well-lived.

In any event, “keeping our chin up” encourages us to be the best we can be in each moment and helps us overcome fear and instill hope. So, “keep your chin up!”

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By Shawn Manaher

Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of The Content Authority. He's one part content manager, one part writing ninja organizer, and two parts leader of top content creators. You don't even want to know what he calls pancakes.