Friday, April 22, 2016

Courageous Choices That Make Us Better, Happier People

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, ‘I will try again tomorrow.’” ~Mary Anne Radmacher
My daughter is the most courageous person I know. She’s seven years old and fierce.
So often we think courage looks like a warrior, soldier, or athlete.
But I think we have it all wrong. Courage has a soft side that we have ignored for centuries.
Take my daughter for instance. The other day she was running full speed ahead at the playground. She was so focused on getting to her favorite swing that she didn’t see the stick on the ground in front of her. In one second, she slipped, fell, and started bawling.
I ran to her, picked her up, and kissed her knee. One minute later, she was wiggling out of my arms, feet on the ground, and running faster than before.
Now that’s crazy courage. She had no reason to believe she wouldn’t fall again. However, she didn’t appear afraid at all. Even though previous experience told her she could fall again. She didn’t listen. She’s led by her enthusiasm and not her fear.
Some people would say this is naive. But I think this is something adults need more of: courage.
Courage is the ability to move forward boldly and authentically, guided by your intuition, despite fear, pain, or uncertainty. The word courage actually comes from the Latin word “cor,” which means heart.
Inner courageousness allows us to follow our hearts, listen to our intuition, and lead soulfully satisfying lives while having all of our needs, desires, and goals met.
Here are three ways you can have crazy courage like a toddler.
Go hard. Go fast. And if you fall, get up, dust off, and go again. But this time, go harder and go faster. Don’t worry about failure. Convince yourself that you can succeed. And no matter what sticks fall by your feet, persevere and keep going.
I’ve hit rock bottom before. And you know what? It’s not a bad place to be. You get to let go of everything and start again. Do you know how exciting it is to start all over again? Make better choices. Go in a different direction. The joy of releasing any burden, any guilt, all of the “should’s” and “suppose to’s” and doing it all from scratch.
So many people think they can’t start from the beginning and rebuild their life. So they stay in unfulfilling jobs, relationships, and negative situations. But honestly, the beginning of happiness is better than the middle of mediocrity or misery.
Be honest about your feelings. Don’t call fear apathy. Don’t call worry tiredness. If you’re afraid, it’s okay to say you are. The more you express your true feelings, the more connected you’ll be to your authentic self.
Emotions are energy in motion. They are meant to come up and be released. We were not meant to hold on to them. Unexpressed emotions create baggage that slows us down. The more you deny your emotions, the further down you push your authenticity. Let your emotions rise up and let them go.
Have you ever felt so much joy bubbling up inside you that you wanted to run away? I don’t think we allow the full capacity of joy to overwhelm our lives. When was the last time you laughed from your gut? When was the last time you let joy shake you, rock you, and fill you up? Lean in to your enthusiasm.
The more you seek to control this uneasiness, the less pure joy you will experience. Have the courage to let joy unnerve you and rock your boat. It’s a lot more fun to open up and let go. Trust me. Trust yourself. Fully commit to feeling good.
This means taking that class you’ve been meaning to take. Going to places you think are beautiful. Spending time with people who encourage you. Learning that skill you’ve been craving to learn.
Ditch the bucket list and start a living list of all the things you want to do while you’re alive. Start working on your list now!
Schedule “joy” into your calendar. I know you’re busy, but it’s worth it.
A few years back, I started learning to play the bass guitar. Making music exhilarates me. Will I become a rockstar? Probably not. But even with being a single Father, I make time for it because I enjoy it.
If you start with these three things, you’ll notice your courage muscles begin to build. It may hurt in the beginning. But if you keep going, you’ll get stronger. And not the fake strength that relies on bravado or hiding our emotions. But real inner strength that grounds you in inner knowingness, confidence, and certainty.
Cultivating real courage makes us better people. And better people create better worlds.

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