“The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud.” – Coco Chanel
What is courage?
Courage is going into the unknown, in spite of all the fears and assumptions that come up before doing an act. Whether it be a change of career, leaving the job you hate going to day in day out, getting into a new relationship, or taking a step which you have been wishing to take for many years now, everything varies of course. Courage to me is living according to your heart than your mind. What does it mean to live according to the heart? When I talk about the heart, I do not talk about you imagining the physical heart inside your body. I mean to do what you feel is right in any given moment, to live according to what makes you happy without the mind interfering, which constantly nags you about what has happened in the past, making you cautious to act day in day out and the future that nags you with assumptions and thoughts of hypothetical scenarios, eg “If I do this, what will other people think, what will happen if it doesn’t go the way I think it will” etc. Courage is to cherish each moment as it is without fear, of future consequences. Of course for the mind, it is logical to believe that whatever I am saying is absurd. But how many of you live each day every day in patterns of habits that you have developed for yourself over the years, there is no life in living in a pattern, it is robotic, dull and boring, you are not joyful in your actions even in the morning. It is a day continued from yesterday, rather than a new day and new life. Have you tried to do anything different each day, honestly or do you wake up every morning repeating the same repetitive thoughts that spring up? Them repetitive thoughts may be of what happened yesterday or the day before, or constantly living in the anxiety of how you can improve yourself, to be better in the face of others.
But how to be courageous. One thing you need to understand is that courage does not mean fearlessness. Fearlessness is the fragrance of absolute courage, so taking steps of courage all the time makes one fearless. Courage can be with little acts as well as big acts, of course, it is your own understanding of what you see as little or big. I have been bought up in a family where I was represented as shy in front of everyone, time after time it became a conditioning and I started believing it for myself. I became more anxious and more insecure, so every act I do I was hesitant and really fearful, questions would arise such as “what will they think of me if I say that?” or “am I good enough?”. I was a coward before and I followed my fears wherever I went, thinking I am not good enough, getting bullied just added to the belief of what I saw myself as. Over time the repetition of what I thought about myself became stronger. The experience of being a coward meant for me that life was dead, I constantly lived in security, not doing anything different to break out of the belief patterns I had created for myself, that is honestly one miserable life. The first step, of course, was to start being more aware of the patterns and automatic responses I had created for myself in times where anxiety was at it’s highest, I would become aware and respond differently. To break out of the patterns you have developed for yourself, you have to be courageous because the mind loves security, you have to break this belief system you have got running inside of you. Start being more aware how real your beliefs are about yourself, break them down, meditate on it, go to its roots. Nothing is permanent in life, so don’t be fearful.
Only cowards live with their minds, giving reasons for all their insecurities and trying to remain consistent with the mind made beliefs, even though consciously/unconsciously they are fed up with it themselves. Cowards create a sense of security through logic. They hide behind this wall of logic, making use of concepts and theories of the past as a shield to be the reason for them to believe that they are this person and nothing can change them anymore, creating masks to hide insecurities. Have you not noticed, how many masks you actually use to express yourself to different people. You are afraid to be real to a stranger, you don’t even know who you are so you constantly try seeking approval because of it, you try to remain consistent in others eyes so that they never leave you. You are afraid of being lonely.
There are solutions to break out of this patterns of insecurity to become courageous. Firstly to be aware every day what you are doing, are you doing it based on what you think is right or what you feel is right? This was big for me, as I had only done most of my life what was expected of me according to other people, whether I was suppressing what I wanted to do in that moment I was unaware of. I started acting outside of my patterns, started responding differently to situations. Learning something new each day helped me change my ways too. Of course, I realised I need to be aware of the automatic responses I have started using with friends and family. To test this further, instead of saying no to everything as a normal response to everything, I started saying yes. Saying yes more often, breaks down your ego. When you say no, you resist, you are trying to be in control, hence why you say no. Man seeks for control in every way possible because it gives one an illusion of control and makes one feel secure. When you start saying yes, you will understand what you are really fearful of, you will understand yourself more. By and by you will realise that whatever you were fearful of were just assumptions of what might happen, and you will enjoy doing new things. Over time you will break out of your patterns of belief, and start living life according to yourself rather than according to assumptions and fears of your insecure mind.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anaïs Nin
Enough for today
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