Stories of courage have the ability to shake things up and inspire us to live in an expanded way. One needn’t climb Mount Everest or jump out of a perfectly good airplane in order to test one’s mettle. Emotional and mental courage can be every bit as challenging. It can sometimes be as difficult as saying, “I forgive you.”
Courage is about stepping into your grander self, your bigger story. What are your fears, and where do you find that you limit yourself? Are you afraid of standing out, of being noticed? Perhaps you are afraid of making the wrong decision. What are the limiting beliefs that keep you from stepping into your bigger, courageous self?
In her excellent book Those Who Dare: Real People, Real Courage, author Katherine Martin asked us to consider where we choose to limit ourselves:
One way we keep ourselves small is by thinking we’re not good enough. We’re not smart enough, not gregarious enough, not witty enough, not savvy enough, not pretty enough, not educated enough, not clever enough, not romantic enough endlessly not enough. When rooted in childhood these feelings of not being enough can come from parents, teachers, authority figures, cliques we never belonged to, kids we wanted to be like, or friends who dumped us. Somewhere inside us are dreams and desires we haven’t made good on because that little gnat keeps buzzing around our heads: “You’re not smart enough to do that” or “You’re not clever enough; are you kidding?” or “You’re not experienced enough for that!” What does your gnat have to say? What about you isn’t good enough? Who told you that? What does it kept you from doing?
Courage is required in almost every basic human activity or endeavor. For instance, to allow oneself to love and commit to another person takes immense courage. Separating from our parents and forging an independent life for ourselves is a courageous act. To survive an abusive, traumatic or neglected childhood with some sense of dignity and integrity intact demonstrates tremendous courage and resilience.