28 October, 2010

The Courage to...

Throughout the week I have contemplated courage.  Courage is everywhere – the courage to speak out, the courage to come to the aid of another, the courage to step on to a stage or share art… Many definitions or examples of what we call courage. 

I often think of courage as the silencing of the external, paying attention to the internal, and having the determination and faith to dance to that beat – The courage to be true to yourself. 

This week though, I realized that I define courage in a way that is more external in nature.  Yes, being true and living an authentic life is about self determination and choice, but it is a courage that communes with the external community.  The courage is in being true to ourselves despite society and community and family and friends and the concerns as to what others may think or expect or desire. 

Maybe that view of courage is still quite wide? 

What happens if I drill down a little farther…

Do I have the courage to look at me – not the me that lives in Northern Virginia… but the me that is particular to… me?

Do I have the courage to give to myself what I freely and without hesitation give to others?

A few years ago, I would have wondered about that idea.  I take care of myself and don’t think twice about it… But it isn’t as easy as all of that.  It isn’t the mindless care that I gave myself really.  That takes no courage at all.  Mindfully giving myself that which I give to others takes courage as it means saying “no” at times to others so I can say “yes” to me.  It means really looking at how I spend my time.  It means silencing the multiple takes and thoughts and allowing myself to revel in… silence.  It means playing, laughing, singing and creating.  It means looking to myself for creative support over noting the lack of that external support. 

I suppose it is the courage to recognize and fully comprehend that I not only need the gift of “me” time… but I need the compassion and love that I give to others to be given to me, by me.  It is okay; it is hard; and there aren’t always answers… and it is all okay. 

This post was inspired by the poem below – but first, 5 promises to me:

I have the courage to:

Revel in the silence – to give myself the space and the time to turn off the noise and enjoy the quiet.

Animate the inanimate; recognize and hear personalities of animals; set thought and emotion to word; and create…Do this without the support of another as I have the courage to do it for me- because I love creating.

Say no.

Unplug and listen – listen to the words, the tones, the emotions, the thoughts others share… and to hear them.

Dream – to prioritize my daughter and my family – and to be mindful of the wonders around me today; as well as the beauty and value of myself and my dreams.



The Courage to Be Myself"

Sue Patton Thoele


I have the courage to . . .

Embrace my strengths—

Get excited about life—Enjoy giving

and receiving love —Face and transform

my fears— Ask for help and support

when I need it—

Spring free of the Superwoman Trap—

Trust myself— Make my own decisions

and choices— Befriend myself—Complete

unfinished business—Realize that I have

emotional and practical rights—

Talk as nicely to myself

as I do to my plants— Communicate

lovingly with understanding as my goal—

Honor my own needs—

Give myself credit for my accomplishments—

Love the little girl within me—

Overcome my addiction to approval—

Grand myself permission to play—

Quit being a Responsibility Sponge—

Feel all of my feelings and act on them

appropriately—Nurture others because

I want to, not because I have to—

Choose what is right for me—Insist on being

paid fairly for what I do—

Set limits and boundaries and stick by them—

Say "yes" only when I really mean it—

Have realistic expectations—Take risks and

accept change—Grow through challenges—

Be totally honest with myself—

Correct erroneous beliefs and assumptions—

Respect my vulnerabilities—

Heal old and current wounds—

Favor the mystery of Spirit—

Wave goodbye to guilt—plant "flower"

not "weed" thoughts in my mind—

Treat myself with respect and teach others

to do the same—

Fill my own cup first, then nourish

others from the overflow—

Own my own excellence— Plan for the future

but live in the present— Value my

intuition and wisdom— Know that I

lovable—Celebrate the differences between

men and women— Develop healthy, supportive

relationships— Make forgiveness a priority—

Accept myself as I am now--

(I first read this at Awake is Good)



BigLittleWolf said...

Courage does indeed take so many forms - especially the courage to look inward and give ourselves what we give others - as you have so eloquently expressed.

Women especially, and mothers even more so, are often so busy giving to others and nurturing those we love that we lose touch with that deep place of self - or selves, as I prefer to see it. It can take enormous courage to set other pressing issues (and our families) aside - even for 15 or 20 minutes - to look at ourselves, and do the work on ourselves that we want, so we never stop "becoming" who we want to be.

A lovely post, TE.

Sara said...

Wow...I really liked this, especially the courage affirmation who wrote to yourself.

You should ask your readerd to write a brief courage affirmation for themselves. Lets see what I would write:

I have the courage to...

Take on new challenges with the knowledge that they remind me that life is about always learning.

Share my enjoyment and appreciation of other's talents without turning green:~)

Forgive even when I don't want to.

Let go of my need to be seen so that I hear and see others who need to be seen and heard.

I could go on, but I'll stop here. However, I will have to continue this. I like this idea of affirming courage.

Thanks very much for this post, TE:~)

dull boy said...

couldn't agree more with all that stuff....and it then dovetails into some advice my dad gave me years ago
'you are what you do, not what you say'

Patty - Why Not Start Now? said...

Hi M - I think you've touched on something that's a challenge for many of us women. Time, as you say, is one thing, but actually giving ourselves love is a much deeper (and difficult) experience. In the end that's the quest I think all of us are on - to love ourselves fully and unconditionally. Thanks for this.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi TE .. the words 'mindless care' .. are so true .... we spend our time in mindlessness quite often - perhaps those of us here - are looking to be more mindful - to have that courage.

I know I do .. but at times I get it wrong and 'do' the 'no' in not the best way .. communication is tricky.

But we need to have that courage to follow our dreams .. and have faith in ourselves ..

Great words and post - thank you .. Hilary

giulietta nardone said...

Hi TE,

Love the new bright web site. The colors feel very alive! Got that book by Sue. Great poem.

Many glorious lines. Like these three:

Overcome my addiction to approval—

Grand myself permission to play—

Quit being a Responsibility Sponge—

Responsibility is one of those loaded words that can keep people trapped in some generic life where you do everything but what you want to do.

Need to have fun and play and love the life or what's the point?

Thx, Giulietta