According to Brene Brown- Wholehearted living is about engaging in our lives from a place of worthiness. It means cultivating the courage, compassion, and connection because these are the gifts of Imperfection.
“What will they think of me? What if they don’t like me? What if I don’t fit in? What if I am not smart enough? What if I don’t get the job? What if I fail? What if I freeze in front of them? I can’t do this
Sound familiar? Are you constantly plagued by questions on “what if you mess up?” Are you now too scared to try because you failed or because they laughed at you? Does fear now control your life and you can’t get out from under its tight grasp? Are you out of hope?
I’ve been there. I have lived in the fear of “what if”.There were days I never seem to have the courage to do things that I am afraid to do.Yet, every time that I let my fear win, I am never happy, never satisfied. I always end up beating myself up internally for once again being a coward. Sound familiar? Yet, how do you stop?
Well, you probably will never stop being afraid. But, that’s okay. Being courageous doesn’t mean that you are no longer afraid. Instead, being courageous is doing the thing that you are afraid of, even while you’re scared.
The root of the word courage is cor—the Latin word for heart. In one of its earliest forms, the word courage had a very different definition than it does today. Courage originally meant “To speak one’s mind by telling all one’s heart.” Over time, this definition has changed, and, today, courage is more synonymous with being heroic. Heroics is important and we certainly need heroes, but I think we’ve lost touch with the idea that speaking honestly and openly about who we are, about what we’re feeling, and about our experiences (good and bad) is the definition of courage. Heroics is often about putting our life on the line. Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line. In today’s world, that’s pretty extraordinary.
When we pay attention, we see courage every day. We see it when people reach out for help, like you can see it in my classroom when a student raises her hand and says, “I’m completely lost. I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Do you know how incredibly brave it is to say “I don’t know” when you’re pretty sure everyone around you gets it? I know that if one person can find the courage to say, “You’ve lost me,” there are probably at least ten more students who feel the exact same way. They may not take the risk, but they certainly benefit from that one person’s courage.
I also see courage in myself when I’m willing to risk being vulnerable and disappointed. For many years, if I really wanted something to happen—an invitation to speak, a promotion, a interview—I pretended that it didn’t matter that much. If a friend or colleague would ask, “Are you excited about that article?” Or “Do you think you can clear the interview” I’d shrug it off and say, “I’m not sure. It’s not that big of a deal.” Of course, in reality, I was praying that it would happen.
It’s only been in the last few years that I’ve learned that playing down the exciting stuff doesn’t take the pain away when it doesn’t happen. It does, however, minimize the joy when it does happen. It also creates a lot of isolation. Once you’ve diminished the importance of something, your friends are not likely to call and say, “I’m sorry that didn’t work out. I know you were excited about it.”
Now when someone asks me about a potential opportunity that I’m excited about, I’m more likely to practice courage and say, “I’m so excited about the possibility. I’m trying to stay realistic, but I really hope it happens.” When things haven’t panned out, it’s been comforting to be able to call a supportive friend and say, “Remember that interview I told you about? It’s not going to happen, and I’m so bummed.”
How do you practice Courage?
1. Accept your fears. Acknowledge it. We run from our fears, accepting it is the first step to face it.
2. Allow yourself to be vulnerable, allow yourself to be honest and speak your mind. This will help you to get rid of any shame if you fail.
3. Enlarge your comfort zone. Have you ever watched someone not from an urban area encounter an escalator? He or she often finds it frightening. People who never fly are often terrified of getting on a plane, whereas they don’t fear driving, even though statistically, that’s the more dangerous activity. The more we stick with what’s familiar, the more frightened we’ll be every time we encounter the unfamiliar. So seek out unfamiliar territory–try new things, stretch yourself professionally, risk being seen as a fool.
I am no expert but I practice this everyday in my life,it allows me to be imperfect. It allows me to stay confident, helping me to love myself, accept my imperfections and living life wholeheartedly.
I have learned a lot through my experiences and reading books. This post is inspired by one of my favourite author Brene Brown. Her books have helped me to practice authenticity and speak my mind.
Let me know what you think of this post, share your thoughts if you find it relatable or want to add something.
See you soon, XOXO!