Most people, when they think of the word courage might associate it with doing something adrenaline filled or risky, cliff diving or racing cars, but for me- when I think of courage I think of the human experience. Real people, who have dug deep and done some incredible things, against all of the odds. For some the odds, are escaping war or persecution and for others it’s simply surviving. This week, I share my thoughts on finding/being courageous. It is probably much more within our reach than we think, let me explain why.
This blog post came about in an interesting way, so the other day I was having a conversation with a friend who then said to me, “I wish I was as brave as you, you were unhappy in your personal situation and you decided to do something about it.” For a few seconds, I genuinely didn’t know what to say, I never considered the shift I took in my life to be courageous- I just didn’t feel happy, so I thought about it and made a change. Of course I’ve simplified it for the purpose of this blog post, but the fact is, I didn’t see it as inspirational or as anything to look up to. Maybe because I knew the parts of me I had to shut down in order to live in a situation I shouldn’t have for 3 years, maybe because I knew the sacrifices I made in order to get by. Maybe because I lived on trauma gasoline for years, I don’t know or maybe it’s because it’s my life and you don’t tend to see your lived experience as anything special or worthy of praise.
I am not who I used to be and that is a beautiful thing.Morgan Harper Nichols
The way I think and look at it, life is yours to live. It’s cliche and probably belongs on a Hallmark card, but that’s genuinely how I see it. It took me a while to realize that my life is mine, that the decisions I make for myself are mine and mine alone. I had spent so much time doing and pleasing others, putting my needs aside that it was almost too easy for me to realize it’s mine to live. When I think about it, it wasn’t a quick switch mentally, it actually took a while to ferment in my mind. Despite being a Sagittarius and spontaneity being my jam, some things take planning and being sure. But, having a gut feeling, doesn’t mean you act on it right away and that was the case for me.
If I dare take the opportunity to give any advise, it would be to trust yourself. How I dug deep and was brave enough to leave a situation I felt was not right for many years? The feeling of knowing in my gut it was the right decision; sometimes you just know. I basically stopped fighting myself and the situation, accepted it for what it was and asked myself, can I cope with this remaining as is for the next 10 years? My reply was no and it then solidified my decision. Living your life honestly and courageously takes you making an open and honest assessment and accepting the things you can live with and taking a deep breath and changing the things you can’t live with.
The way I look at it, having the privilege to live your life the way you choose with the freedoms of personal expression or otherwise, then you have to grab the bull by the horns and take the leap. Many would wish for a similar problem in comparison. We already cope with so much pressure in life to maintain so many unhealthy and ill-thought out lifestyles and trends. Having the courage to live your life to the best of your ability if not only inspiring, but it can also be vey motivating for others in a similar situation as yourself.
Courage takes a lot of emotional stress, but at the end of the day, the best advise anyone could pass on is about not wavering when people try to persuade you to do the opposite of what your gut tells you. If you are definite in your thoughts, then you don’t need them in your circle. Speaking of which, lean into your support group or friends, if you have friends, in many ways friends can be a very important support system. No only are they encouraging, but they can help you take the 1st step into becoming much more of who you are meant to be.
Leaning in on my support group / network, it definitely takes courage. Especially to live your life FOR you, not for your kids/ partner/ or anyone else. It’s almost like we have been trained socially to subdue ourselves in order to make others feel comfortable or in order to fit in- but who says we need to?