American psychologist Rollo May states, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it’s conformity”. Sometimes, it’s easier to stay the course and continue to do things the same way and not rock your boat. It takes courage to break free.
Courage is about performing certain acts in spite of fear. It has been defined, as the ability to do something that you know is right or good, even though it is dangerous, frightening, or very difficult.
Courage is an inner resource that you can exercise and develop to help you face life’s challenges, especially during stressful times. I like to think of it as being adventurous and taking a leap of faith even though I am scared.
Last year, I had the opportunity to walk barefoot on broken glass. My first response was, “no way”, and a split second later, I was hearing inside of me all the reasons it was necessary for my growth and now was the time. Next thing I knew, I signed the release form and was standing in line waiting my turn.
As I stood before the path of broken glass, apprehension surfaced. I mustered my courage, trusted and took the leap. Afterwards, I felt exhilarated. A few days later while I was driving, I received messages about my experience. I whipped out my phone and began recording these words.
We each have our “walking on glass” moments. What we can learn…
1. Your Direction:
- As you move forward do not turn back.
- As you look forward do not look back.
- Be flexible.
2. Pace Yourself:
- Keep a steady pace
- Take one-step at a time.
- Don’t hesitate or stop.
- Keep the momentum and energy flowing.
- Walk consciously with relaxed awareness.
3. Be Present:
- Stay focused and alert.
- Avoid distractions.
- Be aware of the steps you take.
- Be mindful of what’s happening around you.
- Have faith and believe in yourself.
- Step outside your comfort zone.
- Be at-one with the experience.
- Keep your vision in focus.
- Gather friends around to support you, cheer you on, raise you up and celebrate with you.
- Acknowledge you did not do it alone.
- Help others to succeed.
- Be thankful when you reach a goal.
When you want to develop your courage, step outside your comfort zone and start with small courageous acts like saying ‘no’ or ‘yes’ to something, or do one thing differently. Choose acts that are within reason and supportive to your personal safety and growth. Observe any fears that surface. You can visualize overcoming the fear and moving forward with the act. Notice any sensations, thoughts or emotions. If that is a challenge, then pretend it.
As you engage in the act, be mindful and present, and breathe continuously without holding your breath so you can process the fear more effectively. Regardless of how far you accomplished your goal, celebrate on taking another step towards your internal and spiritual growth.
“Courage is the most important of all the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically but nothing consistently without courage.” – Maya Angelou
I look for opportunities to challenge myself with courageous acts. How about you? Please share any acts of courage you have performed and how did you feel?
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