Courage is the most important of all the virtues; for without it you can’t practice any of the others consistently--- Maya Angelou
There are many times courage needs to be expressed by your truest self. When you want to tell the one you love, that you now doubt the relationship’s survival, that takes courage. When you tell a family member to stop talking to you in a way that makes you feel small and disrespected, that takes courage. When you say out loud, ‘I am pursuing my dream no matter what anyone else has to say about it!’ That takes courage. Courage is needed to declare what is best for you. It is used to give yourself what you yearn for. Yet, we are taught to consider someone else’s needs before we consider our own. We are taught to weigh the feelings of others higher than our own feelings. In doing this, we expect our feelings will be equally considered and honored by the other person in that moment and moments to come.
Instead, what do we learn time after time? People are satisfied once their opinions are acknowledged and feel it unnecessary to ask how you feel about the situation. This is not wrong nor should these people be blamed. One must learn to express their feelings in order for them to be acknowledged. It is like being upset at your boyfriend/girlfriend all day long, but refusing to tell them. Then we become even more furious for him/her not saying anything about the thing they don’t know you are upset about. …………….That is pretty much how ridiculous it is to acknowledge someone else’s needs, desires, and feelings before your own.
It takes courage to express compassion, commitment, honesty, and disappointment. Without the courage to do these things we are stuck—stuck in our ways, stuck in our life, stuck somewhere we really do not want to be. In turn, our authentic selves hate us for it. We wish we just said what was on our mind instead of stand silent. We punish ourselves for not going through with what we wanted in the first place due to doubt of it not working out. Time and time again, the would’ves and should’ves pile up like a mental dirty pile of laundry, it’s a constant reminder every time we take the chance to go somewhere new, try something different---- walk out the door.
Luckily we can increase the amount of courage in our daily lives by asking this one simple question:
Does this fit with me?
If yes, then it’s easy to know what to do. If no, then that is where you find the opportunity to use courage. What you do after that will determine the kind of person you become. It will give you a chance to do the things that address your wants and needs. It will give the life you have in mind for yourself an opportunity to transcend. Don’t underestimate small occurrences to stand-up for yourself--- even if it is to yourself. Courage leads to more courage and allows you to embrace what it is to FEEL and BE courageous. When more opportunities come --- the BIG ones, because they will come ---- where you need to be strong enough to speak, determined enough to act and confident in what you want, it won’t be hard to know what’s the right thing to do, because by then you'll already know.