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.
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"
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)