A word we probably grew up with that was synonymous with the prince we believed would ride up on his white horse and rescue us. For me, I believed courage meant fighting back when someone gave you shit. Coming out swinging. Fighting fire with fire. Or, honestly, fighting fire with massive, gasoline-infested infernos.
I believe for women there are misconceptions about courage. We like the idea of it, but we aren’t sure really what it means or what it looks like from a practical standpoint. And as I told you about in my video a few weeks ago, courage is precisely the things I’ll be focusing on going forward and teaching you. Because what hit me like a ton of bricks earlier this year is that all I talk about– the inner-critic, perfectionism, control, people pleasing/caring what others think, and just generally not feeling enough, all comes down to how we practice courage in our lives. And really, the reason I’ve been able to make massive changes in my own life has boiled down to courage.
And I can’t wait to bring you with me.
Maya Angelou says,
“I am convinced that courage is the most important of all the virtues. Because without courage, you cannot practice any other virtue consistently.”
So, let’s start this journey with some key misconceptions or confusions about courage:
You don’t know exactly what courage is. Again, you like the idea, but aren’t sure what it is. According to Brené Brown, courage, the original definition of the word, when it first came into the English language is from the Latin word cor— meaning heart— and the original definition was to tell the story of who are with your whole heart. The way I interpret this is to be wholly true to yourself. To honor the values in your heart (all of them, even the hard ones). And that, in and of itself is a big effing deal.
Myth: To be courageous means you have to fight and be really tough. Again, this was my old way of thinking. I was caught up in I DON’T TAKE SHIT FROM ANYONE! and what this created was disconnection with others. In order to “not take shit from anyone” I had to “not take anything from anyone” which meant not trusting people and not letting them in.
Courage is twinners with vulnerability, so in order for us to live our lives from a place of courage (instead of fear), we have to be vulnerable. We have to let our guard down and open up to the right people. Is it scary and risky. YES. But, the alternative is isolating ourselves and putting on the mask of toughness, which will never lead to a fulfilling, kick-ass life.
Myth: People are either brave or afraid. I used to look around at women I admired and wondered where I could buy me some of that courage and confidence they had. I was convinced they were fearless (a word I now loathe) and I was also convinced I could never be like them because I always felt afraid. Afraid of failure, of success, of being seen, of not being seen, of love, of not being loved… I was afraid of all of it! So, how the hell was I supposed to gain courage and confidence if I was still scared?
The answer: People that are courageous are afraid too. We can absolutely be brave and afraid in the exact same moment. Publishing a book? Brave and afraid. Getting married for the second time? Brave and afraid. Having a hard conversation with someone? Brave and afraid. Fear isn’t black or white, nor is courage. It’s a spectrum and we can be standing on any part of it on any given day, regarding any given topic of our life.
I'd love to know what your relationship to courage is. What have you made up about what it needs to look like in your life? What have you made up about you having it or not having it? Or, do you have any relationship with it at all?
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