August 16, 2012

Eight Things About Courage that You Nearly Forgot.


“What makes the muskrat guard his musk? From early dawn to early dusk?”


I don’t think of myself as a courageous person. Some days I feel like I’m bailing out the Titanic with a thimble. I forget how much I have, all the time. I forget that courage isn’t some giant muscle you are born with that makes you feel ten-feet-tall and able to conquer the world. Courage is a muscle you build every time you use it.

1. “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”  ~ Winston Churchill

Courage isn’t always doing; it’s also in not-doing. It isn’t being a big loud bully and making everything go your way or storming the castle walls. Sometimes it takes more courage to sit and wait.

2. “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” ~ e.e. cummings

We say this so much it’s become a cliche. It’s the truth. When we let go of all those ideas of who we’re supposed to be or what we ought to have or do, and live genuinely: that’s courage.

3. “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt

Courage isn’t a one shot deal where you go through some big bad thing and then you’re all set. It’s each and every time, being present with what scares you, facing it honestly and not looking away.

4. “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement that something else is more important than fear.” ~ Ambrose Redmoon.

When what we want is stronger than that pull of fear, that’s where courage comes. When we can say, I’m scared shitless, but I must do this—that’s courage.

5. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”  ~ Anais Nin

It would be easy to live small. It would be easy to go along and just accept what comes instead of believing we can create change in our lives, in the world. Courage is a door to a larger world.

6. “Courage isn’t having the strength to go on. It is going on when you don’t have strength.” ~ Napoleon Bonaparte

Strength isn’t something we are born with. Strength is something we build. And when we think there is nothing left and we aren’t strong enough—but we push on—that’s courage.

7. “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. ” ~ Mary Ann Radmacher.

Courage isn’t that giant lion that comes roaring through. Courage is quiet. Courage is consistent. Courage is continuing, even when it seems like you can’t possibly succeed. Courage is when you keep going.

8. “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu

You don’t have to be courageous to love. It’s the opposite. All of the back and forth we do about love—Does he love me as much? Will she love me if she really gets to know me? Will it last? None of it’s important. None of it matters. To create courage in your heart, to feel love, you have to give it. If we allow ourselves to deeply, unselfishly, unconditionally love, we create the courage we thought we needed to do it in the first place.

If you feel afraid, be encouraged. Keep at it. Love. And start again tomorrow.

Like I’m not spiritual, I just practice being a good person on Facebook.


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