By: Rena Reese
Courage is granted to each of us equally, not just firemen, explorers and military heroes. Like a muscle that will atrophy if not exercised, our courage is also strengthened and grows with use. Lucky are the children who have courage breathed into them by parents, teachers and role models during their formative years; surely they will navigate fear with more grace as adults. However it is never too late to tap into our reservoir of courage to align with the life our spirit is nudging us toward. Silencing our fears doesn’t happen by reviewing and analyzing them, but rather best done through small acts of courage in support of the outcomes we desire.
Fear is a powerful emotion. Beyond just an emotion, fear is the most debilitating disease on the planet. It is worse than hatred and in fact may be the precursor to hatred. It is a stifling presence that keeps us from leaping, trusting ourselves and stepping into all that is in our best interest. Conflicts between races, countries and religions can often be boiled down to something born out of fear and lack of understanding. And then there is courage, the powerful, contagious and energizing attribute which expands our lives.
Overwhelmingly, the majority of fears we spend so much energy worrying about usually never materialize. Knowing this and choosing to move through our fears takes us to a higher level of personal power in life. Persevering courageously through our fears gives us the opportunity to showcase our true character. The attitudes we hold and the actions we take when we are in that powerful state, make it possible to negotiate through what seems hard or even impossible. Seeking to understand what may be unfamiliar, scary or threatening can transform fear into courage, compassion, or respect. With that comes the knowledge that we do not need to fear what is foreign or uncomfortable to us, but rather try to grow in our understanding of these things.
Fear pollutes important decisions. It prompts someone to marry another they don’t love out of a fear that they won’t find someone better. Fear keeps people from ending unhealthy or toxic relationships, from finding a life’s work that really jazzes them, starting a business, retiring, or moving to a new city. In caving to our fear we are closing ourselves off from countless opportunities for joy and fulfillment. Fear can scream so loudly that it makes it hard to hear what our soul really wants, but it is possible to hear beyond the head chatter of constant trepidation. Whether we are being called to step up with physical courage or moral courage our inner compass is clearly marked with our true north. Understand that being prudent and cautious is different from being fearful. Refusing to fly ever again because of security concerns is a decision steeped in fear. Jogging through Central Park during daylight hours rather than 11pm is cautious and prudent.
Fears can be carried out to such extremes that it chokes the breath of life. It can keep you from healing, challenging yourself, growing and rising to your potential. Courage is a sort of spiritual spine available to each of us to the measure we choose to use it. Acts of courage infuse life with an unmatched aliveness and this way of being is worth vying for.
Boost Your Courage:
o Visualize yourself successfully and happily doing the very thing you fear. Include the pride and confidence that will bubble up when you visualize your triumph.
o Identify elements of your fear that can be positively impacted with your present day choices and preparation. You are more able to positively impact an outcome than you may credit yourself.
o Investigate the roots of your fear to diffuse it. Perhaps an adult role model from your youth embodied a fear and passed it along to you. You may find your fear was not yours to begin with.
o Decide what would be a small step for you to begin overcoming your fear. Outlining degrees of overcoming your fear will make the process much less daunting and boost your confidence.
o Plan a controlled scenario to face your fear. If you are afraid of dogs set up a situation through a trusted alliance to hold a sleeping puppy or a sweet, elderly lap dog. If it is driving over bridges you fear, find a small bridge to master and a friend to accompany you for support.
o Remember that courage is not the absence of fear, it is moving forward in spite of the fear.
We often tolerate mediocrity in the name of staying in a familiar place either physically or emotionally. Refuse to let your dreams gather dust even one more day because “fear” or “habit” is taking its place. Choose to move past those things to find the greater happiness waiting for you. You will find as you make incremental changes, that you, like the Cowardly Lion in the classic tale The Wizard of Oz, had an abundant reservoir of courage within you from the start.
Rena M. Reese is the founder of Soul Salon International, an inspirational multimedia company which offers coaching and consulting, web-design, publishing support, and fundraising opportunities for individuals and groups. She is the author of several inspirational titles, a professional speaker and coach as well as the host of a weekly radio program, The Soul Salon. Please visit www.SoulSalonInternational.com and connect with her on Twitter @TheSoulSalon.