I know it can feel debilitating to lack courage. I know I’m very confident in some areas of my life and am shy and insecure in others. As I’ve grown older, I discovered that having confidence and a healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean I had to have a big, overpowering ego. It just means I have to love myself and be true to myself. Having courage means you have the strength to make a confident decision and have a secure presence. having courage means being brave.
I have gotten comfortable with loving myself, but now I can still struggle with having the courage to be true to myself. I’ll often choose to suffer myself rather than disappoint another person or having the courage to say no. I’ve known what I needed to do, but had problems going out of my comfort zone unless I was extremely moved or passionate about something. After a while I got fed up with myself for not doing what I should just because it was a little uncomfortable.
I tried starting with simple things like saying no to lunch or a happy hour to build my courage. I was so much in the habit of dropping everything to accept an invitation, that I would drop an exercise class or plans with family to make someone else happy instead of having the courage to say, “no.” I started to keep the commitment that was more important to me. If I’d rather exercise than consume empty calories at a happy hour, then I started to choose that. If I wanted to relax and give my muscles a break, then I would accept the invitation. There’s room for both. Then, I started expanding to some more difficult things like saying that I need to go run errands and not watch a movie. I need to go to sleep and not stay up too late because it’s important for my health.
I know it sounds like I am being a rigid task master giving up fun for work and responsibilities. In these instances I am being true to myself even though doing nothing productive can sound more appealing. I do that when I need to.
Now I’ve started expanding to some more difficult things like displaying courage in how I present myself and speak. That means not saying I’m sorry all the time or that I’m not sure what we should do. I’m working on always having my opinion with reasons why and I’m choosing not to take it personally if people don’t take my ideas. I may feel a sting at first if my idea is rejected, but it does make me aware so I can make a choice not to let it get to me.
The last thing to do to build courage is get help. Sometimes you need the support of a book or another person to give you permission and encouraging words to be true to yourself. If you know you will be facing a challenge, it can really help to have someone coach you through your decisions. Finding support to have courage in the first place will make it easier to do it on your own in the long run. I’ve found that the consequences and results of choosing courage have never been bad. They aren’t as scary as I imagines. No one hates me or stopped talking to me. No one has been mean to me. In fact the opposite has happened. I’ve earned respect and the confidence of others in me. Those are far greater benefits than just feeling better about myself. Choose courage with me today because you can!