“…speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.” – Brené Brown
We’re called to be courageous. For many of us, that most likely won’t look like fighting in epic battles with weapons at our sides, at least not in a literal sense. And it probably won’t mean taking a bullet for someone or saving anyone from a burning building.
But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t courageous.
We exhibit courage when we show up, presenting our authentic selves to the world, offering everything we have for the taking. Courage is saying, “Here I am, all of me, opened up for you to see, poured out for you to use as you will, as you need.”
It’s taking risks. It’s admitting when you just don’t know. It’s stepping up to help whenever and wherever you can, even when you’re not sure how much your efforts will really make a difference. It’s being willing to try even when you know there’s a good chance you might fail. It’s sharing your stories of failure and imperfection, encouraging others by letting them know they’re not alone. It’s asking for what you need and being honest about how you really feel.
None of us want to live in fear, held back by the weight of the things that scare us. But it’s far easier said than done. It’s not as simple as saying, “Don’t worry. Be happy” (even if that does make for a catchy slogan).
In order to overcome our fear, we need to believe we can conquer it, that we will be victorious in the end, even when we encounter setbacks (which we will). And we need to know that the risk is worth the potential reward ahead.
It begins with an adjustment of our beliefs. If we think we’re alone and it’s all up to us to conquer our giants, we’ll fall. But if we know that we’re not alone, that we have the strength to knock down our obstacles, we’ll be setting ourselves up for success.
And if we’re trying to be really careful to avoid any and all setbacks or risks, we’re going to miss out on opportunities to grow. We have to take risks and step outside of our comfort zones in order to challenge ourselves to grow and develop new skills and become the best versions of ourselves.
What does ordinary courage look like for you? What courageous things are you aspiring to? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brené Brown
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