Courage can mean many things.
I believe we are each challenged with unique opportunities to express our courage. This comes easier for some than others, while some people never give it a second thought. As many times as I have displayed courage in my life, there are many more that I haven’t. There are times when I had to work so hard to display courage I wondered if it was even worth it. There were many times that I decided it wasn’t worth it. The problem is that after deciding so many times that it’s not worth it, eventually, it’s not even a question anymore, it becomes a habit and you lose your ‘courage muscle’. And you have to work to get it back, if you even realise it’s missing.
I have to work on my ‘courage muscle’, virtually every day.
Courage could be asking your best friend’s mother to read to you, as a little girl, from Enid Blyton’s – The Faraway Tree, because the only way you can imagine sleeping right now is if Moonface and Mr Saucepan were to entertain you with their antics. It could be asking another friend’s mother to take you home in the middle of the night and of a sleep over because you are missing your mom so badly you cannot sleep. Courage could be telling your high school crush that this isn’t what you are here to do – after following him away from everyone at the party down to the public swimming pool with him expecting something more than sweet sixteen kisses. And feeling the sharp pain of the rejection as he turns and walks away asking “why did you come with in the first place”. And not calling him back. Sitting with the thoughts that his date probably “put out” and that’s why she was on his arm…and you’ll probably never quite be part of the ‘in crowd’.
Courage could be unlocking your own “Pandora’s box” of feelings that you’ve kept under lock and key for the longest time because you know something is pounding to come out. You know that which will come out is going to hurl life as you know it upside down, that it has become larger than you and that eventually there will be no stopping it. It’s knowing that you need to end a 10 year relationship, 3 of those married and you have no idea how you are going to live through breaking someone’s heart. Might it be easier to walk in front of a bus, than have to take a stand? You will your heart to feel differently, and it works for a while, but the truth wants to ooze it’s way out of the wounds you try so hard to hide. You realise you have to be the one with the balls to call it a day. You have to be the one to walk away. For your safety as much as your sanity.
Courage could be setting boundaries with an alcoholic parent and sticking to them no matter how much your heart breaks. To see the truth and to grieve the loss of what could have been. It could be in letting go of the need to control them and their drinking. It could be accepting this about the person and still loving them for who they are, dropping the judgement, looking into their eyes and seeing their soul.
It could be laying your cards on the table, asking for what you want and being prepared to walk away if it’s not what you need. It’s being vulnerable and open and if the other person doesn’t see that then he doesn’t deserve you. It’s putting that out there, no matter what happens. And when this person embraces you and what you’ve laid out on the table, it takes more courage to believe that you deserve to get what you have asked for.
It could be accepting the pure fear and anxiety that accompanies you when driving on the highways, and allowing it to be.
It could be accepting that you are not ashamed to have a different world view, and your beliefs (or lack thereof) do not make you a bad person and you have nothing to hide.
It could be leaving an unfulfilling job in search of something that will feed your soul. It takes courage to go against the flow. When you know in your heart something isn’t right, to stand up and speak your truth, without judgement, without fear but with courage.
We all get opportunities to display our courage, in so many different ways.