“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage.” — Anais Nin
As most of you know, I recently finished writing a book on women’s courage (it’s in the publisher’s hands and due out any day!) One of the numerous lessons I learned during this process is that courage is expressed in as many forms as there are people who feel it. Courage for a five-year-old shows up in quite a different way than for a teenager, parent, or ninety-year-old. However, the single consistency in every story and throughout all phases of life is that courage is the mindful, deliberate choice to live true to one’s authentic Self.
Courage: noun cour·age \ˈkər-ij, ˈkə-rij \: the mental or moral strength to venture, persevere, and withstand danger, fear, or difficulty – Webster’s Dictionary
While Webster’s definition of courage implies that courage requires us to facedown our fears and move forward anyway, I believe this is only a half-truth. As a life-coach, again and again I have witnessed my clients courageously venture into the uncharted wilderness of their own hearts in order to find their purpose in life. In the beginning, their doubts, fears, and discouraging circumstances follow them like stray cats hoping to be fed. In spite of this, the miraculous spirit of their true Self keeps them recommitting until victory is had. With practice, they develop a surgeon’s skill in cutting out their detrimental distrust of themselves and nurturing the truth that produces flourishing in their lives.
“Courage is a love affair with the unknown.” — Osho
Living authentically does not come easily in our society. It requires deep introspection that brings into focus the discrepancies between your inner sense of Self and the way society pressures you to view a successful life. Once the fog of meaningless mental chatter clears from your heart, you’ll find love, joy, and freedom replace that nagging feeling that you’re not winning the rat race. It takes a courage greater than all others to examine your own life with ruthless honesty and make the changes necessary to accomplish your aspirations. However, once this is done there is nothing that can stop you. The dreams that were utter impossibilities when you took your first step onto the road of living authentically become inevitable certainties.
“Courageously dare to be your Self - the world can’t live without you.” — Terry Sidford