I wrote about courage a couple weeks ago, but the thoughts are continuing to roll around in my head. I blame that on Brene Brown.
It’s no secret that I thoroughly enjoy Brene Brown’s teachings, there’s something about her that I get, it clicks. It’s as though they are written to describe my exact challenge, or circumstance. One of the themes she weaves throughout her teachings is the idea of courage , and does it in a way that I love.
She talks about courage not in the traditional sense, but with an eye on owning the responsibility for your life. Asking for what you need, speaking your truth, owning your story, setting boundaries, and reaching out for support. Well…that’ll be no problem…said no one, ever. Seriously, perhaps some of the hardest challenges we face are those that force us to be vulnerable. Of course, Brene is all about vulnerability, so it’s no surprise.
Let’s get our courage mindset going and think about this for a minute. First, speaking your truth. I am honest as the day is long, but at the same time to speak my truth is challenge. It’s being willing to speak to what is truer than true for you. And whatever that is, might not be the most popular, or it might be counter-culture to your group of friends, or your family. They may not agree, or like it. May try to dissuade you. But courage is standing in your truth no matter what anyone else thinks. It’s your truth.
You’re courageous when you own your story. This is the story that resides in your head, that you’re constantly telling yourself to make sense of the world around you. It’s you, filling in the blanks when you don’t have information and what you fill in may or may not be accurate. We have to own that, say it out loud, question it for ourselves to find the actual truth. Owning our story is knowing that we have the ability to control our narrative and at times we have to question what we’re saying.
Ahhh boundaries. Boundaries are healthy, they encourage open honest conversation, and provide you navigation within your relationships and an anchor. Here’s an easy one. I am not a fan of violence and conflict, which is an understatement. I have an internal reaction to it, in my gut, both when it’s happening around me, or on screen. I try to not be avoidant of but to stay within my boundaries would be declining to see a movie that is violence based. It’s taking a break in a conflict situation so that I can return later and have a constructive conversation. Boundaries are knowing what situations and behaviors I will navigate and which are deal breakers, and they’re a tool to talk about it. When I don’t maintain healthy boundaries, I also feel it in my body. An uncomfortable sensation where I know I’m out of balance with myself. Think about how you feel, what comes up for you, when your boundaries are encroached upon.
Finally, Brene talks about asking for help. My first response is…do I have to? It’s a hard one for me. It’s not because I don’t think people can help me, it’s because I don’t want to be a burden. I worry about inconveniencing others. I want to fly under the radar. But, I do need help. Often. And when I ask, people are more than happy to help me, but it’s having the courage to ask in the first place. When we can have the courage, be brave enough to ask for help, it allows us to stay balanced and not overextend ourselves when it’s not necessary. We’re designed for connection with others and allowing them to help us is part of that dynamic.
Courage is an element of relationship, both with us and with others. As you’ve read through Brene Brown’s elements of courage, was there one that hit you a little harder? That caused you to think twice, pause to reflect? Pay attention to those feelings. We can practice being courageous every day, it might look a little different for you and me, but it’s courage nonetheless. We can support each other through encouragement when we see someone else being courageous, because that’s part of the journey. Being authentic and courageous, and applauding it in others.