“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing we’ll ever do” is a quote from Brene Brown’s book Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you should be and embrace who you are. I remember reading it for the first time and thinking “true”. But the more I go back to it, the more I see what power those words have and how much is behind them.
Because… what does it actually mean to be brave, to have courage in everyday life? In the same book, the author writes that the word “courage” comes from the Latin word “cor”, meaning “heart” and once meant “to speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart”. So there is no resonance of heroism and sacrifice in this meaning, but an open heart. Saying who I am, what I face, what I experience, and how I feel.
In spite of appearances, in everyday life, we don’t lack situations where we or other people have courage. Asking for help is one of the examples. Think for a moment, how often and why do you ask someone for help? Do you do it with ease or do you have to be in an emergency situation to finally ask: will you help me?
I know very well that this seemingly simple behavior is not one of those. A dozen years ago, the saying “I need help with this and with that” was beyond my reach. The nature of the perfectionist just wouldn’t allow me to. It took me a while to do this, more precise – to learn to do it. But when I finally said what was at the heart of me, I found it was a great feeling! It was like a release, the situation was just easier for me, better. I felt that even if this outside help did not lead to a happy ending, I would be able to tell myself that I did everything I could.
I also have noticed that my courage influences others. My openness to tell someone that I also have a similar story strengthens them. I’ve started to notice more people around who were sharing their joyful and sad moments. Those who had courage in everyday life.
As I mentioned, asking for help is one of the examples. So what else can be named as courage in everyday life? What would you put on your list?
Mine consists of:
- admitting to yourself that you failed, made mistake,
- saying to yourself “well, I tried, but it didn’t work out”,
- setting boundaries,
- “letting go” in some matters, (for example relationships, that despite efforts do not bring solution or improvement),
- taking care of your needs, taking time for yourself, embracing and cuddling yourself,
- verification of the relationships in which you are, your role in them,
- rewarding yourself for what we achieved,
- saying out loud that you care about something, even if it seems trivial,
- saying you want something,
- admitting that you don’t know or understand something,
- sharing your story and experience with someone,
- expressing fears, anxiety, fear,
- taking care of your values, a sense of security.
You know best what is your courage to take from each day of your life. What moments are like standing “naked” in front of other people? I know, it is not easy, because this decision involves a risk: someone will judge, laugh, say: oh, come on, don’t exaggerate or I don’t have time. But there’s always a chance that some others will say: I also have this kind of story, I understand you perfectly, I can help you, you have my support, I am with you with all my heart. Will your courage not grow even more then? After all, we want to be a bit better every day, create our stories, like ourselves more. And for this, we need to be open and speak from the heart!
Thankfully, courage can be learned. Every day, step by step. By creating habits and behaviors around it, building relationships on it. You can be inspired by the courage, draw it from others around you. You can and must infect, inspire, strengthen, and support others with it. When you start looking for daily courage around, you will notice that there is a lot of it.
In a world that tells us how to be the best version of ourselves, that expects us to be a perfectionist and does not allow us to show weakness even for a moment – having daily courage can seem crazy sometimes. But you want to create your own story as beautiful as possible, don’t you?