“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”
~ Anaïs Nin
I’m not a big fan of feeling uncomfortable. This will probably surprise some of you who know me and have witnessed the glee I take in making other people uncomfortable. So, see, I can totally dole it out but I want to shoot myself in the head when I’m in an awkward situation. Which I do entirely to myself much more frequently than I like. I am usually the victim of my own ridiculousness.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about discomfort and how cowardly it can make you. And, being a coward means you potentially miss out on a lot of amazing things in life because you hide yourself away out of protection. Or a sense of propriety. Or a misunderstanding that anyone else gives a shit.
A whole lot of the time we put much more weight on our personal risk than others do.
I made a conscious decision to try and do one brave thing a day. I want to get more comfortable with the risk that naturally goes with courage.
I am not talking about physical bravery. I am perfectly happy to be a coward with physical pain and will continue to embrace avoiding injuries.
I’m talking about emotional bravery, which can have a much longer recovery period and leave some pretty nasty scars. But also can lead to living an honest life without regrets. And that just sounds really good to me because if there is one thing that I want to avoid more than feeling uncomfortable it’s feeling regret. There is always the risk that I’ll end up with a big stinking plateful of both but it’s a risk I’ve decided I’m willing to take.
Every day we have a choice. We can live a small life, protecting ourselves and, thereby, creating distance between ourselves and others. Or, we can choose to live a bigger and riskier life that will ensure we make those connections outside of ourselves.
It’s scary to open yourself to another person. No doubt about that and you won’t get much of an argument from any other breathing, upright human.
But if you take a minute to think outside of your own experience and to set aside any expectations about what you want the outcome to be, being honest with others about your feelings, your concerns, your passions, your grief is ultimately what we are here for.
And being open to supporting someone else’s courage is a very big gift. One that can, literally, change lives.
“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgement
that something else is more important than fear.”
~ Ambrose Redmoon