Courage is one of those things I feel I need to master, because I feel so full of fear about so much in my life, and I can see how easy it would be to curl up, retreat and obey that fear.
I am not one to give into fear though, so I do try to find that inner courage to push through it. I'm not successful all of the time, but my brain won't settle until I've at least attempted to resolve it. There's not much I hate more than giving into fear and anxiety and saying "I can't." Can't is my 4 letter word. Thus my constant quest to reach goals, improve myself and let go of fears.
When I think about courage, my mind conjures up all these images of heroes and strength-soaked people with little or no fear or doubts. One of the definitions of "courage" I found even said "to face danger without fear." I have to argue with that though. How does anyone with a heart face a dangerous or painful or difficult situation without fear? I think the key is bravery. Being brave enables us to live courageously. Bravery is that little pat on the back that whispers confidence into our hearts and enables us to push past that fear and anxiety and conquer those obstacles with courage, to persevere to our goals, trembling but sure. So while I may meet my goal, allow myself to be vulnerable, or withstand my fears, it's not a comfortable thing, and I wish I had more confidence to move more courageously through my life. I don't want facing my fears to be a PROCESS, energy draining and something to work through. I want it to be second nature, I want to recognize that twinge of fear, let out a little giggle, and keep going.
Practically all of my struggles with courage and conquering fear involve allowing myself to be vulnerable. Socially, professionally, intimately. What I desire is acceptance, love, feeling important in my communities, cherished in my family, and success professionally.
What arises for me when I begin to feel vulnerable in these situations are my gremlins: fear of rejection, unworthiness, shame, abandonment, removal of love, feeling unlovable, detached and disposable. There's a lot of nastiness to work through to allow myself to truly evolve, open and embrace what I want - fully and with confidence.
Again, I think the key is to practice! One of my goals on 43things.com is to master courage by practicing it daily. But instead of having some vague goal that I'll never remember, I want to be as specific as I can.
So specifically, these are some things that I feel will help me practice courage daily:
- Having the courage to pay attention to when I feel my fears: What are they telling me about myself? Instead of ignoring them, listen to them and then deal with them. Instead of feeling shame about them, honor them, understand where they come from, but don't allow them to make your decisions.
- Having the courage to speak up when something doesn't feel right.
- Having the courage to face rejection by putting myself out there professionally, socially and in my relationships.
- Having the courage to honor my authentic messy self without shame. Invite people to get to know the real me, chaos and all.
- Having the courage to hear someone's ideas, opinions and thoughts respectfully without trying to control or change them.
- Having the courage to be an active listener, feeling empathy and love, without attempting to "fix" them.
- Having the courage to smile more.
- Having the courage to pick up the phone.
- Having the courage to make eye contact.
- Having the courage to not compare myself to others.
- Having the courage to take action towards my goals, no matter how small or big.
- Having the courage to be accountable to others.
- Having the courage to make my own decisions and think for myself.
- Having the courage to respect, love and have empathy for myself and where I am in this moment.
- Having the courage to honor others through my gratitude and generosity.
- Having the courage to ask tough questions that make me feel completely vulnerable and trusting that I will survive and thrive onward, no matter the outcome.
- Having the courage to let go of the outcomes.
- Having the courage to heal my heart from the wounds of my past and forgive those who have hurt me.
- Having the courage to forgive myself for wounding myself and others.
- Having the courage to apologize and seek forgiveness.
- Having the courage to make healthy decisions for my body, soul and spirit.
- Having the courage to refuse to be invisible.
- Having the courage to be silent.
- Having the courage to let my children make their own decisions and be their own people.
- Having the courage to believe in myself.
- Having the courage to give people the benefit of the doubt.
- Having the courage to ask for help and believing I'm important enough to get it.
- Having the courage to believe I'm worthy, inspirational, totally lovable, important, interesting and fun to be with.
- Having the courage to believe I have everything I need in my life to be happy, fulfilled and content.
- Having the courage to identify myself as an artist without disclaimers.
- Having the courage to leap into the unknown with confidence.
- Having the courage to make sure my kids know I'm not perfect.
- Having the courage to make sure my kids know they should never try to be perfect, only perfectly themselves.
- Having the courage to learn something new and start at the beginning.
- Having the courage to feel freedom in my life, my choices and my future.
- Having the courage that no matter what happens, I'm surrounded by people who love me and accept me unconditionally.
- Having the courage to introduce myself.
- Having the courage to take all of my children on a vacation, possibly in a van or airplane where occupants are unable to leave, and trusting that though chaos may ensue, we'll all arrive safely and not straight into the custody of police or child protective services.