I suppose we could call ME courageous for even writing this article right?
I say this because, just like you, I have that same little niggling voice that says:
“Who are YOU to be giving tips on living a courageous life? What if they think you’re a fraud?”
However, I have learned that COURAGE means being vulnerable, which is sharing what’s coming from my heart, REGARDLESS of the outcome.
The definition of Courage is:
-The ability to do something that frightens one. Or, Strength in the face of pain or grief. COUR comes from the latin word COR, which means HEART.
To share what’s in our hearts regardless of the outcome obviously feels a bit scary, which is therefore just ONE reason why it’s so courageous to go for it anyway.
My entire life has been about moving towards the things that feel right inside of me, that simultaneously scare the crap out of me! As an added bonus, I have had the honour of seeing just how amazing and creative I have been along the way at building walls, protective layers, and defences against getting hurt, rejection, and failure.
We all have different ideas of what happiness looks like and feels like.
In my opinion however, at the end of the day, EVERYTHING we aim to achieve is always because what we REALLY want is to FEEL a specific way inside.
We want freedom, unconditional love, to feel completely accepted and like we fit in and belong somewhere, and we want to be able to EXPERIENCE life and the joy and inner peace that comes as a result of being PRESENT. Imagine, if you felt peaceful, joyful, fully present, accepted, and loved unconditionally, and fully expressed as the most authentic version of yourself, would you still CRAVE the same “Achievements?”
The majority of the population still believes that we can “Achieve” these things by gaining more prestige, money, fame, success, validation from others, likes on Facebook, fans on social media, etc. This tells me that there must be something misunderstood about Inner Peace, living in the moment, and unconditional love. These are not “things,” but rather they are a level of consciousness, a state in which we are able to live and experience the world within us and all around us.
No matter how much “stuff” we have, how good we look, or how much success we have, it will not certify us with this level of consciousness.
Instead of having goal lists that look like this:
- Let go of expectations
- Live on purpose, sharing my passion
- Let go of my attachments to outcomes so I can experience the magic of life
- Be present
- Love unconditionally
- Be of Service and think of others more than I think of myself
- Be kind and loving to all
We have goal lists that look like this:
- Grow my business into a multimillion dollar empire
- Own two brand new cars by the end of next year
- Reach X amount of LIKES on Facebook
- Buy a MUCH bigger house
- Reach X-amount of dollars in my bank account by the end of this year
- Get married and have 3 kids by the time I am 35 years old
- Loose 15 lbs and have the perfect body by Summer Time
Now…there is nothing wrong with the second list. It is perfectly normal and OK to want these things and to set goals to achieve them. There’s only an issue when we reach for such things, believing that these things will bring us the first list, when in reality, the first list is the foundation for lasting and sustainable health, peace, connection, and happiness. The rest will ultimately come (or you won’t even care if they don’t because you will already FEEL amazing regardless).
I used to BELIEVE that I must appear as though I had it ALL together ALL of the time if I wanted to be accepted and seen in a certain way.
This meant I kept what I called a “healthy distance” from clients, students, and friends. I thought if I got too close, they would no longer be able to benefit from my work or friendship, because then they wouldn’t have the same level of respect or trust in me.
What this ACTUALLY did, was kept me from truly connecting to anyone. It kept me from being an EQUAL. It pushed potential lovers away and made my clients and students feel like my lifestyle was unattainable which only discouraged them. I played “The Coach” in all my interactions with the world. I even did this with my parents, especially my dad who I was constantly wanting to prove myself to (even though he didn’t need any proof to know I was worth his love!!!). I wasn’t doing this consciously, but unconsciously. I did so because hidden deep within was a belief that this part of me was all I had to offer. It was the mask I hid behind. I did not trust that me, just as I am, just my presence alone in a room with a friend, a client, my partner, my students…WAS ENOUGH.
Let me tell you, the day I GOT this, my life totally changed!
When I finally GOT that my #1 duty in life was to share what is in my heart REGARDLESS of the outcome, I literally had a spiritual awakening. My relationships grew deeper and richer. I was able to experience real, UNCONDITIONAL love with my partner (in fact this is what brought us back together after a break-up). I was still able to be just as effective if not MORE EFFECTIVE as a teacher and a coach, because I was being real, raw, and honestly sharing ALL of me, instead of only sharing the bits of me I felt were worthy enough. This freed up SO much of my energy and allowed me to actually share myself completely with the world, which apparently has been a much greater gift to be giving than the guarded version of me. WOW…Who knew?!?!? 🙂
We all build our own kinds of walls, protecting ourselves from similar things such as ridicule, judgment, failure, rejection, shame, and getting hurt. One of my favourite TED Talks, is by Brene Brown called The Power of Vulnerability. She has done years of research around this subject and has found that when we try to protect ourselves from the so-called “painful” or “bad” feelings, we actually protect ourselves out of ALL feelings including, connection, love, and acceptance.
It is actually NOT possible to build walls up for selective feelings, without building defences against ALL of them.
When we build walls up, it protects us out of fully experiencing ANYTHING, and therefore we are no longer able to fully experience LIFE, period!
We become NUMB.
For me, letting down my walls and beginning to truly LIVE a COURAGEOUS life, has been one of the most liberating transformations I have gone through thus far.
Here are 5 of my favourite tips for living a courageous life:
1) Stop thinking that everything is about the result or reaction you get from someone else or something outside of you. This is what keeps us from FULLY sharing ourselves. How others react and respond isn’t about us. It’s about THEM. Your #1 duty is to show up and bring ALL of yourself to the party. Share your truth and keep moving.
2) Let go of your attachments to the outcome. We get left feeling unsatisfied when we don’t fully share our truth, so share your truth regardless of the outcome. Even if he or she rejects you, even if you “fail,” and even if things don’t turn out the way you want them to, as long as you are no longer hiding your truth, you have done your part and life will begin to support you for it.
3) Be patient. We tend to want instant gratification and we are constantly comparing ourselves and our level of “success” to those around us. You have no idea what the next moment, the next day, the next week, or the next month will bring. Keep showing up for your #1 duty and live in the mystery and the possibility of Life rather than in the assumption that you are not getting what you want. PRACTICE PATIENCE.
4) Instead of focusing on how you want things to look, focus on how you want life to FEEL. If you are coming from a place of LOVE, you will feel much differently about life and others, and you will make much different choices throughout your day than if you are coming from a place of fear.
5) Let go of expectations. Go into conversations, projects, meetings, events, social gatherings, etc, with the intention to accept everyone and everything as they are. We only get burned when we hold an expectation, or when we expect someone to do and be the way WE want them to do and be. Why do we feel so entitled to have the world act accordingly to our little plans? Therefore, when the world doesn’t meet our little expectations, we feel justified in our victim and sob stories. The only person this harms is YOU! So try approaching each day without expectations and see how differently you see and experience the world within you and all around you.
Do you have anything you’d like to share with me? If so, please leave your comments here on the blog!
Sending you MAD Love as always,
Do want to live your life to the fullest? If you are ready to experience richer and deeper relationships with self, with others, with food, and with The Universe, and you are serious about investing in yourself, then perhaps you are ready to work with a Relationships Coach. If this is YOU, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The E.L.M. Personal Growth Mentoring Program is an exciting, mind and heart opening, highly effective way to release your mental, physical, and emotional blocks so you can live a life you love in a body you love. It’s an investment in your health and happiness. Serious inquiries only.
To check out Brene Brown’s TED Talk on The Power of Vulnerability, click here.