Last week, I offered a reminder to stop waiting for the right time. What I forgot to mention is that sometimes, as you choose to make 'someday' today, a great deal of courage is needed.
It takes courage to really live your life. Not just to get up every day and go through the motions. But to truly live life to the fullest.
What do I mean by truly living life to the fullest? I don't mean is spending your days on crazy or dangerous adventures, buying the latest gadgets or traveling to far-off places.
What I do mean is in every single choice you make every single day, that you're making the choices that are most fulfilling for you. Not the choices of what society says are "best". Not the choices that put aside your heart in favor of what your logical mind says is "right". Nor the choices that keep you living the life you *should* be living.
Instead, it's the courage to choose to live. To choose what makes your heart fill with joy despite the opinions of others. The choice to say yes to what scares you but that you know is what's really right for you - heart, mind, and soul.
The dictionary defines courage as "the ability to do something that frightens one". In living life courageously, I prefer to look to Brene Brown's definition of courage:
The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.”
From this, the courage to really live your life isn't just about doing what frightens you. It's about being willing to speak up for what is in your heart. And that's usually the only frightening part.
Conditioning Gets in the Way of Courage
From a young age, we're conditioned to do what we're told. Not to eat what you want, but to eat what's good for you (I still hate those lima beans and never eat them as an adult). Maybe to play with the toys that were appropriate for your gender or to participate in activities that were 'for girls' or what 'everyone' was doing. What to wear to fit in. To go to school for something you have some aptitude for that will make a "good career" regardless of whether it was where your passion lay.
As adults, the conditioning continues. Society expects you to get married and have a couple of kids (my daughter is nearly 10, I'm divorced and happily single, nearly 40 and people still ask me when I'm going to have another one). Stay in a good job, follow your career path. Buy a house and settle down. Go through the motions every day without ever pausing to even think about what it is you really want, let alone feel into what your heart is telling you.
Really living your life takes courage. It takes being able to first listen to and hear what your heart is saying and then being willing to speak your mind by telling what is in your heart.
Listening to your heart takes practice.
Telling from your heart takes practice.
Practice to have courage rather than continue to live even one more day in your conditioning.
Telling All Of Your Heart
The modern day definition of courage is to do what is frightening to you. I can't think of anything more frightening than being open and vulnerable enough to tell all of one's heart.
At least, at first.
When you begin to practice real courage, to tell your truth of what you want, what you think, what you believe, based on what's in your heart, it can feel uncomfortable. Unfamiliar.
You might worry about how people will react. What they will think of you. You may feel selfish as you go against all of that conditioning of putting others before yourself.
Often, these fears hold women back. So often I see it. Women who are faced with burnout, depression, bad relationships, or a long list of other crisis in life that usually start with the decision to ignore what your heart wants in favor of what you should do. Without even pausing to consider where that *should* comes from.
And only then is their courage born. From the fiery depths of despair, courage rises from the ashes. When you get off of your knees, brush yourself off and begin to look forward at life, the way is clear.
Living life on purpose. Living life with courage in every moment of every day. Making choices that honor your own heart, speaking truthfully from that place of self-love so you can create a life you love.
Courage Gets Easier
The good news is that courage gets easier. Every day that the sky doesn't fall as you act from a place of courage, you feel more confident in living this way. The right people in your life meet you in your vulnerability and your desires. The wrong people in your life, the ones who aren't ready for courage yet, fade away. You look back one day and realize that instead of choosing comfort instead of courage, that courage has become comfortable.
And you realize there was never anything to be frightened of to start with.