As the month of Love is upon us it gets me thinking of the heart, self love and deep courage. What makes courage, courage?
My conclusion is that courage is doing or saying the things most other people we know are not. If they were it would be called normal not courage. For example, if everyone were to quit their stable jobs and leave their family to go travel around the world at the age of 45 then it would be the norm, and then not going would be courageous. But on a smaller scale if everyone had those difficult conversations that include topics like; I want to separate, or I’m deeply afraid of showing you I’m vulnerable, I love you so much it scares me, I lied to you, or I have a terminal illness and I’d like to talk about the end of my time, then we might be a healthier more well adjusted society.
It takes real courage to get to the heart of it. To be deeply honest with yourself and then be that honest with those closest to you. Your palms might sweat, you may experience shortness of breath, feel anxious and even a little nauseous, but in the face of communicating your truth these are all signs of great courage.
So how do we live the tough stuff? Sometimes our truth may disappoint people. They may feel hurt, betrayed or thrown off their path. Then we feel responsible and don’t want to feel that we are the cause of another persons suffering. And in the same way our truth may help another feel relieved and validated. If we say nothing we deny ourselves the opportunity to strengthen our courage muscle the heart. Because it is only with great strength and courage that we can even have those difficult conversations.
Here are a few things I’ve learned over the years to help get over the fear and draw on the courage that lives in you heart so the truth can set everyone free.
- Spend time alone. It’s hard to tell if we are reacting or not. It’s easy to say I want to move to another state when your state just raised taxes yet again. Or fantasize about a new lover when you just got into a fight with yours. Time spent alone will help you determine what is true. The truth doesn’t yell. It doesn’t give the finger, or yell F. You. The truth never says “If only…… or when I…… then……I’ll…..” The truth is usually quiet and strong and hits you like a rock when you stubble upon it and it is best found when you are still with no distractions and by yourself.
- Ask yourself often, “Is this what I really want?” You may not know what you want but you may know something is off, not quiet right. Somewhere inside you know you haven’t met your truth just yet. This is a good place to be because sometimes you have to know what you don’t want in order to know what you do. Be curious. The answer to the question; What do I want? lies also in the question; “Is this what I really want?” because it helps you focus on what is here right now in front of you and not something that has not yet been realized.
- Embrace the fear. Never try to push it away or stop feeling it. That only leads to bad things. When your palms get sweaty embrace it. Know that you are on the right track. When your stomach starts to do flip flops pat yourself on the back,you are on your way to being more courageous then you ever have before. Set a place at the table for your fear and anxiety when you are ready to have that oh so difficult yet courageous and deeply liberating discussion. And of course remember, the truth doesn’t yell. It doesn’t give the finger, or yell F. You. The truth never says “If only…… or when I…… then……I’ll…..”
Strengthen your heart this year. Be your own Valentine and show yourself are courageous beyond measure. Take the risk. Love yourself deeply enough to be true. Tell the truth. It might just set you free.
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And if we don’t have those difficult talks and maybe even arguments then we all suffer. There’s hidden anger, sadness and resentment that can linger for years.