“Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.” -Brene Brown
It takes courage to be who we are in the world. Courage comes from the Latin word for “heart.” To be courageous is to be open-hearted, speaking our truth honestly and openly with our whole heart. In other words, sharing our most intimate thoughts, feelings and experiences that comprise our true being.
Loving ourselves enough to reveal our deepest vulnerabilities is the most courageous choice we can make. Unlike bravery which is externally motivated, courage comes from within. It sources deep within our hearts as self-love, acceptance and self-compassion. Courage allows us to acknowledge our hurts, wounds and imperfections without escaping, distracting or resisting them.
For example, I’m practicing courage right now by putting my thoughts, words and experiences out there for you to read. My mind is racing with thoughts such as, “I have nothing to share that they would want to read,” or ” People aren’t going to like what you have to say.” And all of these negative beliefs stem from my deepest vulnerability-that I’m not good enough. So for me to practice courage, I have to take that first baby step and trust being vulnerable by sharing my hurts, imperfections and insecurities.
Here goes…When I received my first edited draft of Soul-Hearted Partnership, I was ecstatic. It had taken ten years for me to take the courageous step to give what I had written to an editor. And, now here was my life’s work in my hands. As I quickly perused the cover letter, my heart sank. Although there was a sampling of both positive and corrective feedback, all I focused in on was what I perceived as negative. Here is a litany of my thoughts that sourced from shame-“What was I thinking that I could write a book?” “Who did I think I was?” and “You’ll never be a writer so give up now.” I was so disappointed and devastated that I wanted to throw the draft in the fireplace and be done with it. I didn’t. This time I allowed myself to be vulnerable and practiced courage.
First I let myself feel vulnerable, hurt and afraid. Then I went to my husband, my trustworthy partner who has earned the right to hear my story, and shared with him my pain of not being good enough. After a good cry, I then responded. I placed the manuscript in the freezer to take the negative energy off of it. I left it right on top of the frozen vegetables for several days. When I was ready to face my vulnerability heart on, I took it out of the deep freeze and began to make the suggested corrections.
Courage takes putting our vulnerability on the line everyday. Practicing courage means sharing our story with someone safe even when we are so ashamed, insecure or hurt that all we want to do is run, fight or hide. We don’t think or feel our way into becoming courageous-we take action.