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Communication has always been difficult for me.
I grew up on the extreme side of shy and introverted, bursting into tears at the slightest sign of confrontation. My exceptional lack of self-confidence extended into all other areas of my life—from making friends to dancing at parties.
It was not a sustainable way to live.
Communication was, and still is, an art and a battle for me. I don’t mean small talk and casual conversation—I’m talking about fearless, genuine expression.
I’m talking about the guts to tell someone what’s really on our mind. About sharing a raw, unseasoned chunk of our soul. About looking someone in the eye and exposing our heart.
There’s no doubt those of us who’ve achieved the feat of authentic communication have reached an entirely new level of being. It’s called “not-caring-what-other-people-think-of-us”—in other words, courage. But that sh*t is hard.
We can all agree that facing our fears and developing courage is hard. So how do we do it? Mary Schmich wrote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” For most of us, this advice is neither accessible nor specific enough to effectively put to use in our lives.
Facing fears isn’t something that is just done. It’s something that is practiced.
So, I started writing. From silly poems to school essays, the scratches of my pen across paper tore away at my shell, one letter at a time.
And my transformation didn’t stop there. Through activities like learning new art forms, a new language, a new musical instrument, and travel, my courage continued to flourish. I wasn’t aware of the connection at first. I remember a vaguely speedy transition from shy outcast to extravagantly dressed teenager with a friend group and boyfriends.
But when I began to study Vedic Astrology, I realized why writing had influenced my life in such a way.
I also learned some good news: many of us are already practicing how to develop courage on a daily basis without even knowing it. Communication and courage are two concepts that we wouldn’t immediately think relate to one another. However, from the perspective of Vedic Astrology, they have such a strong and direct relationship that they are placed in the same house.
An astrological “house” is an entire domain of life, like career, relationships, or home. Each of these domains is responsible for several aspects, qualities, virtues, and activities—all of which are innately interconnected. In Vedic Astrology, the third house rules both communication and courage, as well as willpower, writing, friends, hobbies, and creativity. Their connection is so deep that not only are these aspects considered part of the same domain, but working on one aspect will directly improve the others.
Below are a few tips for learning to communicate fearlessly and find our courage:
1. Write as a gateway.
“To strengthen the 3rd house, start writing letters, short essays, keep a diary, do something related to literature.” ~ Rami Bleckt, psychologist, Vedic astrologer, and author of The 12 Houses Of Fate
The simplest reason for this innate connection between communication and courage is that communication already requires a level of courage. The difference is, this courage is in a subtle form. Most of us don’t grow up jumping out of airplanes or hitchhiking cross-country. We grow up learning to speak, socialize, and write—activities we do so naturally that we’re not usually conscious of when we call upon our courage to perform them.
Sorry, Mary Schmich, I disagree. Instead I say, write one thing every day that scares you.
In a subtle way, writing is a practice of cultivating courage because it forces us to put ourselves out there, even if we are writing for our eyes only. Our fearful thoughts are safe and sound in our head, but in the process of writing we are forced to confront them.
“Writing took my vulnerability, courage, and confidence to a different level,” says Shruthi Krishnaswamy, who is a yoga teacher, artist, singer, and writer. “Writing about specific incidences in my life that are tragic but powerful made me feel like an indestructible warrior, and this gave rise to an even more confident me.”
Many of us, as writers, have experienced the cathartic release that comes with writing down our thoughts, whether in an article or a journal. This is because taking our fears out of our head and putting them on paper creates a level of detachment—a sense of separation that shows us that we are not our fears.
2. Learn a new word every day.
“The limits of my language are the limits of my universe.” ~ Goethe
Start simple. Increasing our vocabulary is the easiest way to grow our ability to communicate. We all know what it feels like to struggle to find the right words. Often it results in a lack of confidence.
Expanding the reach of our language allows us to express ourselves with confidence and conviction. Ten new vocabulary words later, we may find ourselves able to relay new feelings, thoughts, and concepts on a deeper and more profound level.
3. Finish what you started.
“In Vedic thought the third is a martial house…[it shows] our will and ambition…along with our courage and boldness.” ~ Dr. David Frawley, from Astrology of the Seers
Bringing our projects to completion takes willpower and determination, two more aspects of the third house that directly increase our level of courage.
No matter how big or small the venture, seeing it through to the end takes confidence and some amount of risk—success is never a guarantee. We don’t know if we’ll make a good impression at that interview. We don’t know if our new design business will take off. We don’t know if anyone will like, or even read, our latest blog post.
But we go for it anyway. And even if we fail, we are all the more confident and courageous because we overcame every thought telling us to quit.
4. Go on a trip.
“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” ~ Dalai Lama
The third house also rules short travels.
After I graduated high school, I took a gap year and left the country for six months to travel through Asia, completely by myself.
I immersed myself in new cultures, people, customs, and languages. I learned there were many different ways to communicate, and it pushed my boundaries. I came back disillusioned with the cultural boundaries of the society I grew up in, which gave me courage to break out of them.
Rami Bleckt writes, “Short travels give us detachment. By traveling, one gets to see how other people live, that there are problems everywhere, and in this way gains perspective on the world and life as a whole.”
When we go somewhere we have never been before, we automatically push the boundaries of attachment to our preconceived notions, which are created from fear, from the tendency to label the unknown and make it seem known.
5. Create something.
“Notice that creativity and courage are in the same house. What does this tell you?…Creative people must take risks. And they do take risks—they are constantly working, making new projects, implementing new ideas.” ~ Rami Bleckt
Writing is just one form of creativity, and its effect stretches over all other creative arts and ventures. Similar to writing, artists put themselves out there with no notion of how their creations will be received. There is always a risk factor, whether evident or subtle, and this risk helps our courage grow.
Art and creativity are just other forms of self-expression. And as we now know, the more we practice expressing ourselves, the more fearless we become. So let’s sketch a cartoon, paint a portrait, sew that cute skirt, or write that song that’s been playing through our heads all day.
Communication is an art and a battle. As writers, artists, travelers, and entrepreneurs, we may never have realized how deep an effect our craft has on our courage. No matter which method of communication and self-expression we choose, we are well on our way to becoming courageous, confident warriors.
And as Rami Bleckt concludes, the most important part to remember is, “[Communication] starts on a spiritual level—understanding that each person is a manifestation of the Divine.”