You may have followed my work for a bit now and know that I talk about courage and confidence. And maybe you think “Well, I get it, and this whole ‘courage and confidence’ thing sounds good in theory, but how will my life be different if I learn to be courageous and confident and will it even work for me!?”
Let me tell you what I was like in my 20’s. I was actually a really happy girl. I had great friends, a family that loved me, worked at good jobs, and was in a long-term relationship. Outside, everything seemed great and on a surface level I was happy.
But, underneath I was struggling. I was unfulfilled with my life. In my relationship there was no trust and no real connection, and my friendships were good, but nothing deep and intimate. I struggled fiercely with perfectionism, comparison, and control. I NEEDED to control. I thought if everyone would just act like I thought they should act, my life would be so much better.
When shit hit the fan for me in 2006, I isolated to the point of not checking my email for weeks. I screened all my calls, and barely even talked to my parents. I hardly saw my friends and once had lunch with one of my long-term friends and she said to me, “Well, with the divorce statistics, it was bound to happen to one of us.” That’s not to blame my friend…none of us knew what to say to each other. None of us knew how to truly connect. I was lonely when I was alone, and I was lonely when I was around people.
During that time of struggle I made decisions that 100 percent went against my values as a human being. I said yes to men when I really didn’t want to. Just because I thought I should or to try for one shred of connection. I would meet new people and either unload my whole story (what Brené Brown calls trying to “hotwire a connection”) or completely shut people out. What I came to realize was that once I hit adulthood, my soul became unconscious.
Fast forward to now.
Anyone that knows me well will tell you I’ve always been an assertive person. I’m an Aries, ENFJ, Type 8 on the Enneagram. But, all this personality stuff does not automatically mean that I was born with courage. I had to learn it, and still do every day. What it looks like in my life is this:
- Reaching out to the right people when I need help
- Making peace with the fact that most things are messy and imperfect
- Standing up for what I believe in— such as giving an opinion
- Setting healthy boundaries and saying no even though it’s not easy
- Letting go of control and trusting myself and my faith enough to know that I can handle anything
These are just a few things of what practicing courage looks like. All of the things above still sometimes make me really uncomfortable and/or are scary. I’ve accepted that and it’s necessary.
And that’s what I want for you. You can choose to be like I was— happy on the surface with an unconscious soul— or you can choose to make the decision to wake up your soul, step into an uncomfortable life that is full of imperfections, messiness, and uncertainty. But, I promise you, my dears, that this same life will be full of truth, grace, and insurmountable beauty.